Harry Landis; 1899-2008

6 02 2008

Mr. Harry Landis of Tampa, FL died at the age of 108.  Mr. Landis is one of the last known American Veterans of World War I.  A Mr. Frank Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia is now the only surviving veteran of World War I.

Mr. Landis enlisted in 1918 and trained to go to Europe, but never got the chance to head overseas.  The war ended before his unit shipped out.

The Associated Press (via the Richmond Times-Dispatch) has an article about Mr. Landis.

Mr. Landis was born in 1899.  His life spanned three different centuries.  When he was born, William McKinley was President of the United States, and the Spanish-American War had just concluded the previous year.

In his life the world transformed from the industrial revolution to what we have today.  Amazing.

It’s always weird when you think about how close we are to distant times.  Mr. Landis was born in 1899.  Let’s say there was someone of the age that Mr. Landis was in 2008, 108.  That person would have been born in 1791.  And if we continue that equation…a person who by chance was 108 in 1791 would have been born in 1683.

So three people could have spanned the time period of 325 years.  Astounding!

We can put it into more personal contex…I know a gentleman at church who’s grandfather was alive and present at the Battle of Cold Harbor in 1864.  He remembered riding out the day after the battle and being told to keep his head down and not look out, but he could see through the boards of the buggy the bodies strewn along the ground.  So there is only one person between me and the Battle of Cold Harbor.

It’s weird when you think of it like that, because these things seem so long ago.