Richard Overton is the oldest known war veteran in America, and at the ripe old age of 108 has more than just a few interesting life stories to tell.
Just yesterday, Overton served as grand marshal in Austin’s Veteran’s Day Parade, a parade he enjoys annually, although, according to him, this year’s show was…
“Fine, lovely beautiful. The best one I’ve seen yet. It made me feel good. I appreciate everything they’re doing. I had my name and age on the side of the car, and they couldn’t believe it. I was still walking and talking and riding along and everything.”
What’s more is the fact that for Overton, a drop of whiskey in his coffee was a daily thing in his life, and he still enjoys the occasional tipple from time to time, “It’s just like medicine,” he said, adding that he also loves a daily cigar, “I’m smoking one now,” he added.
According to him, Overton still drives his old Ford pickup truck and very much enjoys working his yard, and doesn’t let his age hinder him in any way.
So what are the secrets to a long and healthy life?
According to Overton, “You have to ask God about that. He brought me here and he’s taking care of me, and nothing I can do about it. I can talk about what he’s doing for me.”
Born in 1906, Overton served in the Pacific Theater from 1942 to 1945 as part of the all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion. Overton told USA Today back in 2013.
“War’s nothing to be into. You don’t want to go into the war if you don’t have to. But I had to go. I enjoyed it after I’d went and come back, but I didn’t enjoy it when I was over there. I had to do things I didn’t want to do.”
Interestingly, Overton is the cousin of the late Austin civil rights leader Volma Overton, who also served in World War II as a Marine and went on to become the longtime president of the Austin NAACP.