Emma Didlake at 110 years of age is believed to be the oldest veteran. In 1943 at the age of 38 Ms. Didlake joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. At the time she was married with five children. She served as an Army private during World War II. She has been honored with multiple medals including the World War II Victory Medal. An amazing accomplishment for a black woman in that time. On July 17, 2015 she was honored once again when she meet with President Barack Obama at the White House. An honor well deserved. She is living history. To her success she stated “I didn’t know I was breaking barriers. But I enjoyed doing what I was doing because I had committed myself to just this.”
At age 110 she appears to be doing well. She has been blessed with longevity. She takes one medication per day for diabetes and eye drops for glaucoma. She appears sharp. She credits her good health to living in moderation and not smoking. Interestingly, she has a ritual wherein she soaks nine golden raisins in a pint of vodka and lets them sit overnight and eats them the next afternoon. Although, I cannot speak to the benefits of eating vodka infused raisins, I think we can all agree that not smoking and eating in moderation are good examples that we can all live by.
Emma Didlake is a trailblazer, a woman who unknowingly was ahead of her time. Her accomplishments can still speak to us today and encourage us. Let her be an example of how determination, will and courage can be an example that no matter your circumstance you can dream and live your dream.
by Marjorie Binette, MD