105-Year-Old WWII Vet Reveals His Secrets to Living Long Life

by Matthew Memrick

World War II veteran Harry White shared a few secrets last week after his 105th birthday. 

But one secret may trump others when it comes to living a long life.

“Treating everybody right and doing the right thing in life — some of the right things in life,” White told NBC Washington.

That spirit has paid off in dividends. White has been around so long that Woodrow Wilson was the president when he was born.

Born in Sumter, S.C., the District of Columbia resident and former Secret Service special officer celebrated his birthday on Aug. 30. 

D.C. councilmember Janeese Lewis George also presented the World War II veteran with a ceremonial resolution in recognition of his service.

WWII Veteran’s Beginnings In S.C.

After spending his early years in South Carolina, he moved to Washington. 

White lived through times of segregation in the South.

“I didn’t know that we were segregated because we didn’t know what it was,” he told NBC Washington, saying the discrimination was a part of life.

“I didn’t have education enough then to know what segregation was.”

He shined shoes and sold cars briefly before getting drafted for World War II in 1942.

White served until the war ended in 1945. In 1961, the veteran started his Secret Service position. White worked for the Secret Service and the U.S. Treasury, protecting U.S. presidents, government officials, foreign diplomats, and dignitaries over the years.

White told WUSA that he was one of the first Black people in the Secret Service. He also he was forced to retired after blindness struck him in one eye in 2001. 

WWII Veteran Has Lived A Good Life

White is also the father of six children, 13 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.

“I feel good,” the World War II veteran told NBC Washington. “I’m glad I turned 105. I wish I could live another 105 (years).”

White also revealed his two sons, Harry White Jr. and Michael White, check on him daily. He also told the TV stations that he never smokes or drinks. He has lived in Petworth, a northern part of the city, for more than 70 years.

The proclamation also mentioned his work of capturing more than 30 check forgers.

“He was known among his colleagues as a person of great character and source of employment advice,” the proclamation stated.

White’s “honest and integrity earned him the respect of his peers, as well as his supervisor and those whom he protected.”

The veteran also reflected on his great life with a good bit of optimism.

“We’ve had a wonderful life,” White said after his birthday. “Growing up in that wonderful life was a whole lot of good things and a few bad things, but we didn’t let it put us down,” White said.