100-year-old man dies of coronavirus after losing twin to Spanish Flu
A 100-year-old Long Island man who lost his twin brother to the Spanish flu has died of the coronavirus — in a case of two pandemics devastating one family a century apart, according to a report.
Philip Kahn, a decorated World War II veteran from Great Neck, succumbed to the illness earlier this month after surviving the Great Depression and a deadly sniper attack, according to CBS New York.
“Both Philip and his brother were pandemic bookends,” Kahn’s granddaughter Corey Karlin-Zysman told the station. “He definitely put two and two together and saw the irony in this.”
Born on Dec. 15, 1919, amid the Spanish flu crisis, Kahn’s twin brother Samuel perished from the virus after living only weeks.
Kahn grew up the son of a Manhattan baker before joining the Air Force, and co-piloting missions to Iwo Jima during World War II. He lived through a sniper attack and a booby trap that hurled him 15 feet into the air, knocking him unconscious and causing him hearing loss, he told Newsday in 2017.
Decades later, as as an electrical foreman, he helped build the Twin Towers — and eventually had two twin grandchildren of his own.
He was later praised as the oldest living veteran in Nassau County before falling ill.
“Knowing that [he] had a twin that [he] ultimately never got to know because of a pandemic really affected him,” Karlin-Zysman said. “He always had a motto that history will always repeat itself.”
At his funeral, his great-grandchildren gave heartfelt virtual speeches.
“I just want to tell him thank you for all he’s done for us,” his 9-year-old great-grandson Elliot said. “He loved us and we loved him the same.”
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