On Friday President Obama honored Emma Didlake, the nation’s oldest living veteran at 110 years old, who dedicated her time and service during WWII.
“We are so grateful that she is here with us today. And it’s a great reminder of not only the sacrifices that the Greatest Generation made on our behalf, but also the kind of trailblazing that our women veterans made, African American veterans who helped to integrate our Armed Services,” said the president. “We are very, very proud of them so that’s why we’ve got to make sure we do right by them.”
Didlake was born in Boligee, Alabama in 1905. She was a 38-year-old wife and mother of five when she joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1943.
Making the decision to join the army was a bold move for the veteran from the segregated south, during a period where many women remained at home. During her service, she held the rank of Private and served for seven months stateside as a driver.
The president said she “served with distinction and honor, and received all sorts of commendations for her service.”
After the war, Didlake joined the NAACP and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963, where she received a lifetime achievement award two years ago from the local chapter.
Didlake traveled around the world and was proud to earn medals for her military contribution. She earned the Women’s Army Corps Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal.