After battling on the front lines for the “Colored Troops Company” during World War II, Army Pfc. Charles Clark returned home to Northern Virginia.
In segregated Purcellville, there was no homecoming parade or heroes welcome. “Nobody said ‘Thank you,’” Clark recalled. “Life went on.”
Sixty-seven years after WWII ended, Clark got star treatment during Obama’s visit to Loudoun County this month. President Obama met privately with nearly 105-year-old Clark and thanked him for serving the country.
“How did you live so long?” Mr. Obama asked.
“Plenty of hard work,” said Clark, Loudon County’s oldest WWII vet who brought his niece Elaine to meet the President. He didn’t mention that he has raised his own vegetables since childhood, rarely drinks anything stronger than coffee, and once smoked but didn’t inhale.
In his modest Purcellville home, decorated with Obama photos and 2012 signs, Clark offered that his secret to his longevity is also going be the secret to reelecting President Obama. “Work hard,” he said.
On election day, Clark – who just stopped driving two years ago – will go to the polls and cast his vote for President Obama. Just in case anyone thinks a 105-year-old doesn’t keep up with the polls, Clark says, “The newspaper says if he wins Virginia, he’s got a chance to win. We’ve got 13 electoral votes, you know.”