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Story by Spc. Brandon Dyer
ARLINGTON, Va. – Referred to as a “day that will live in infamy,” Dec. 7, 1941, was the day the Japanese attacked the United States and drew the nation into one of the most destructive events in history.
On the 74th anniversary of this day, the oldest known veteran of the war was given the honor to lay a wreath at the World War II Memorial.
Frank Levingston, now 110 years old, was on a D.C. tour organized by Austin Honor Flights. In addition to laying a wreath at the World War II memorial, he visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and was invited to visit the White House.
Livingston flew from his home in Lake Charles, La. This is the first time Austin Honor Flights has provided a trip to an out-of-state resident.
Upon landing in Ronald Reagan National Airport, Levingston was greeted with a standing ovation.
During his visit to the tomb, Levingston grew emotional.
“I can’t really express how I feel,” said Levingston. “But I’m very touched to see this.”
One of eight children, Levingston was born Nov. 13, 1905, in North Carolina and served in the Army as a private. He fought in the Naples-Foggia Campaign in Italy.
After receiving an honorable discharge in 1945, he became a union worker specializing in cement finishing.
Shannon Levingston-McCowan of Shreveport, La., is Levingston’s great niece and accompanied him during his visit to Washington.
She said her uncle’s 110th birthday last month means a lot to her family, regardless of the fact that his age has made national news coverage.
The centenarian Levingston is in good health and takes no medication, said Levingston- McCowan.
Joseph Levingston, his nephew, said it was an honor to see a member of his family recognized in such a way.
Austin Honor Flights is a non-profit organization that helps veterans visit the National Capital Region to see the war monuments that have been built in their honor.
According to the Austin Honor flights website, there are approximately only 855,070 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II.
Veterans who participate in the Honor Flights program do so for free.