Emma Didlake, America's oldest living veteran, died at age 110 on Sunday, just a month after visiting President Barack Obama at The White House.
"It was a month ago today that we went to the White House, a month ago today," Didlake's granddaughter Marilyn Horne, 62, told the San Antonio Express
. "I think she felt she had accomplished everything and could take her rest."
According to The Associated Press
, Didlake – known as "Big Mama" to her family – was born in Boligee, Alabama in 1905, and was one of 15 children. She was married with five children when she signed up in 1943 for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps at age 38. She served stateside for seven months during World War II, as a private and a driver.
"Emma Didlake served her country with distinction and honor, a true trailblazer for generations of Americans who have sacrificed so much for their country," Obama said Monday afternoon in a statement. "I was humbled and grateful to welcome Emma to the White House last month, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to Emma's family, friends, and everyone she inspired over her long and quintessentially American life."
Last month, officials from Talons Out Honor Flight presented her with a short sleeve shirt with the group's logo to wear on her trip to Washington D.C. Granddaughter Horne recounted Didlake making a quip when she received it: "I don't have Michelle Obama arms – I'm going to need a jacket."
In addition to meeting the president in the Oval Office on July 17, she also saw the World War II Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
Didlake was a longtime resident of Detroit, and had recently moved to an assisted living facility in West Bloomfield.
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