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Nation's oldest living WWII veteran Emma Didlake dies at 110

By Tomas Monzon
1/5
Nation's oldest living WWII veteran Emma Didlake dies at 110
President Barack Obama meets with 110-year-old Emma Didlake, who is believe to be the oldest living U.S. veteran, in the Oval Office of the White House July 17, 2015 in Washington, DC. A resident of Detroit, Michigan, Didlake was a private in the Woman's Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II. Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Emma Didlake, a resident of Detroit and the oldest living American veteran from World War II, has died at a long-term care facility. She was 110.

President Obama, who recently met with Didlake at the White House on July 17, expressed his condolences on Monday via a press release which highlighted her service to the United States Armed Forces.

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"I was humbled and grateful to welcome Emma to the White House last month," said Obama. "Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to Emma's family, friends, and everyone she inspired over her long and quintessentially American life."

Didlake was born in Alabama in 1905 as one of 15 children. She married in 1922 and was a 38-year-old mother of five when she joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) during the Second World War. She served the war effort at home for seven months as a private and driver. After the war, she joined the NAACP and marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in Detroit.

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Thanks to Talons Out Honor Flight, a branch of an organization that arranges free flights for veterans to visit war memorials, Didlake got the chance to visit the World War II Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the changing of the guard at Arlington National Ceremony and of course, meeting President Obama.

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Didlake also revealed her secret to staying alive in a past interview, which included eating fruits and vegetables but not much meat. Each evening she would soak raisins in a pint of gin and let them sit overnight before eating them the next afternoon.

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