Centenarian Patriot Heroes

Regrettably, but with age, unavoidably, America’s losing our great World War Two veterans every day, and has been for some time.  So many of them began their service to our country, and to freedom, while still teenagers.  That puts those still with us into their 90’s.  For a fortunate hearty few, they have thus far resisted Heaven’s call.  Resisted to the point of actually reaching 100-years-of-life… and beyond!  Here are three examples.

Armando “Chick” Galella reached the century mark on New Year’s Day, 2021.  Mr. Galella enlisted in the Army in 1940 and was serving at our Army Air Force Base in Hawaii when the unprovoked Japanese attack on our naval and air facilities at Pearl Harbor took place (a date and event we hope our students are still being correctly taught).  Recalling that experience now, so many years later, he said: “We had no more chance than a snowball has in hell. It was wave, after wave, after wave.  I’m just happy with the grace of the good Lord that I survived.”  Mr. Galella went on to become a battalion sergeant-major and was awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery during the Battle of Okinawa.  His advice for longevity: “A sense of humor, and a glass of wine with apples every day between 4 and 4:30 PM.  And when you wake up in the morning, put your feet on the ground and live like it’s your last day on earth.”

And yet another New Year’s Day birthday!  This one for Lowell, Massachusetts resident and WW II veteran, Henry Naruszweicz.  He turned 105 as the new year began!  A number of locals and friends put together a vehicular parade past his home to help him celebrate his amazing milestone.  Mr. Naruszweicz served under General Patton during the Battle of the Bulge, among other actions.  Said he: “I’m lucky I came back.”  These days, even at his age, it’s reported that he still lives pretty independently in his own house, and he does his own laundry!  Mr. Naruszweicz’s advice to those ‘younger,’ which is virtually all of us: “The most practical thing is moderation in everything you do.  It makes sense because I’ve seen when people harm themselves by overdoing everything.”

Finally, for now, a Second World War veteran to share with you who is even older, at least as of late this past September (a Google search revealed no evidence of her passing).  Dorothy Schmidt Cole is reportedly the oldest living U.S. Marine. She resides in Kannapolis, N.C., now at the age of 107!  She enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1943. At the time, the only Marine option open to women was the Reserve (the Army and Navy apparently did have female nurses serving from early on).  Sergeant “Dot” Cole trained at Camp Lejeune and went on to serve the Corps in administrative roles stateside for the duration.

Our thanks to these great American veterans, America’s treasures, heroes every one, for their service and for their continuing patriotic love of country.  May they continue to live each day safely and in good health.

(ADDENDUM:  Marine Corps Sergeant Dorothy Schmidt Cole, the oldest living U.S. Marine, passed away in early January, 2021, after suffering a heart attack, its now been reported.  Ms. Cole was 107 years old.)


(Galella data and quotes via nypost.com, Dean Balsamini, 1-2-21; Naruszweicz data and quotes vis breitbart.com, Amy Furr, 1-2-21; Cole data via foxnews.com, Michael Ru