America's oldest living veteran dies at 112

Richard Overton, the nation's oldest living veteran, died at the age of 112 in Austin, Texas yesterday.

A veteran of World War II, Overton served three years in the Army and moved to Austin after the war, where he lived in the same house for 70 years. 

Fox 4:

Family says Overton was admitted to the hospital last week with pneumonia.  He died Thursday. ...

He gave credit to God for his longevity, but he always said cigars and whiskey helped.

"I been smoking cigars from when I was 18 years old, I'm still a smoking 'em. 12 a day," he said.

The distinction of being the nation's oldest veteran brought quite a few visitors to his front porch.  One person that graced that porch was former Gov. Rick Perry on Memorial Day in 2013.

"I just wanted to come by and visit with you," Perry said at the time.

On Veterans Day the same year, former President Barack Obama honored Overton in front of thousands in Washington.  "His service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he deserved at home. But this veteran held his head high," Obama said.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, around 496,777 American veterans from the war were estimated to still be alive in September 2018.  More than 16 million Americans served during that war.  The V.A. also says that about 361 veterans of that conflict die every day.

The "Greatest Generation" argument will continue, but it cannot be denied that those who lived through those times certainly lived through a lot.  They did what they had to do to survive and prosper, and in the process, they saved freedom, destroyed evil, and created astonishing wealth.  That succeeding generations have squandered much of what they built is not their fault.

Overton was 11 when the U.S. declared war on Germany.  He was 35 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  He was 74 when Ronald Reagan was elected and 103 when Barack Obama took office.  It's amazing to contemplate the history he lived during those 112 years – almost half the 230 years that the American constitutional republic has existed.

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