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100-year-old veteran from World War 2 died of COVID-19

100-year-old veteran from World War 2 died of COVID-19


We recently came across a heart-wrenching story that tells an unusual coincidence that happened between twin brothers victimized by two different pandemics. A 100-year-old World War II veteran named Philip Kahn died due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 last April 17. In fact, he is the oldest veteran in Nassau County, New York.

According to his grandson, Warren Zysman, his grandfather feared that another pandemic will happen in his lifetime.

Philip Kahn on his 100th birthday last December with his grandson, Warren Zysman, and Zysman’s son. (Warren Zysman)

“It was something he brought up quite frequently,” Zysman said. “I would have conversations with him, he would say to me, ‘I told you history repeats itself, 100 years is not that long of a period of time.'”

His twin brother died 100 years earlier in the Spanish flu pandemic

It was revealed that Kahn’s twin brother Samuel passed away weeks later he was born because of the 1918 influenza pandemic previously known as the “Spanish flu,” which killed an estimate of more than 50 million people globally.

Kahn served as a sergeant in the US Army Air Force during WWII  and acted as an engineer and co-pilot, keeping war planes intact.

Before he passed, Kahn experienced coughing and respiratory symptoms brought by contracting the virus.

His grandson was saddened that their family weren’t able to give him what he desired, which was a large military funeral.


The cemetery opted only for two people in the armed forces to perform a military ceremony. Sampson Lester Friedman, who served with him during WWII in the Army Air Force, attended the funeral and paid his respects to his old friend.

“[There was] something about him that was very very special,” Friedman said at the funeral. “On our airplane, he was an engineer, and he was the hardest working guy aboard that airplane.”

They also shared that over the century that followed his brother’s death, Kahn made sure to keep the memory of his brother alive at all times.

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