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My travels usually take me to far-flung places, but today is different. I'm on a train to New York City, shuttling back and forth from Washington, DC. My father is 101 years old, and just one year ago he gave a 30-minute speech without notes at his centenary birthday celebration. He ended his speech saying, “I'm often asked how I lived so long. The answer is I just lived.” An uncomplicated man who lived a long and complicated life, staying mindfully in the present. Here is his story about a 101-year-old, decorated World War II Veteran, who our country and health system cannot seem to offer care and dignity at life’s end.

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95 Milbank Q. 698-701