Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day 2005: An Amazing Life Becomes More So

Even though this isn't education-related, we just couldn't let it go without saying anything.

Would you believe that one of the last 30 veterans of World War I (1914-1918) will be riding in a Washington, D.C. Memorial Day Parade today? His name is Lloyd Brown, and he is 103 years old. Incredibly, this man lives by himself in Charlotte Hall, Maryland, and manages to drive a golf cart to the end of his driveway each day to get the morning paper.

Brown plans to ride in the parade Monday in Washington to represent the rest of the 4.7 million U.S. servicemen who took part in the Great War. He is one of the 30 who are still alive, according to an unofficial estimate by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"World War I people are getting scarce," Brown said. "Nothing can be done about that."

Brown was 16 when he lied about his age so he could join the Allied cause in 1918. His Maryland driver's license still lists his birth date as October 7, 1899, instead of the correct 1901.

"Everybody was patriotic; everybody wanted to join," Brown told The Washington Post. "Those who joined were local heroes, well received on the public streets."

Brown still remembers patrolling the North Atlantic for enemy submarines aboard the USS New Hampshire.

He reenlisted after the war as a Navy musician, and played cello in Australia as a member of an admiral's orchestra. He later served as a firefighter in the District of Columbia, and sold antiques in Charlotte Hall, in southern Maryland.

Son-in-law Thomas Espina said Brown doesn't allow anything to bother him too much, including aging.

"I don't consider it a long life," Brown said. "I feel as though there are a lot of people around my age."

Even though Mr. Brown lives alone, his daughter Nancy checks on him each day.

As a history teacher, I can only imagine all the history that this man must have experienced in his exceptionally long life. And I wonder what it would feel like to know that each and every person that you knew as a child is gone.
Submissions for The Carnival of Education: Week 17, should be sent to owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net no later then 10:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, May 31st, 2005. The Carnival should open here at The Wonks Wednesday morning.

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