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WWII veteran dies from coronavirus 100 years after his twin died of Spanish Flu

Grandson of Philip Kahn says he would often warn that history repeats itself, ‘knew the irony of what was going on’ after he began coughing

World War II veteran Philip Kahn, who died from the coronavirus on April 17, 2020. (Facebook)
World War II veteran Philip Kahn, who died from the coronavirus on April 17, 2020. (Facebook)

A US military veteran of World War II has died from the coronavirus, over a century after his twin brother died in the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Philip Kahn, 100, died at his home in Long Island last week, with his doctor saying tests showed he had contracted COVID-19.

“He watched the news, he was completely aware of the pandemic. When he started coughing, he knew he might have it, and he knew the irony of what was going on,” Warren Zysman, one of Kahn’s grandsons, told the New York Times.

“And he would say, ‘Warren my boy, I told you history always repeats itself. We could have been much better prepared for this,” Zysman added.

American soldiers salute during the funeral of World War II veteran Philip Kahn, who died from the coronavirus on April 17, 2020. (Screen capture: Facebook)

Kahn’s brother, Samuel, died just from the Spanish Flu just weeks after the two were born in New York City in December 1919.

“He had this level of sadness about it because, while he was born a twin, he never got to experience being a twin,” Zysman said. “He carried this void with him his entire life.”

In a separate interview with CNN, Zysman said Kahn often brought up his brother in the days before his death.

“Pretty much every holiday, every event, he would also bring up his brother Samuel,” he said.

According to Zysman, Kahn wanted a military funeral, so the cemetery where he was buried had two American soldiers perform the ceremony, while a man whose father served in the Marines during WWII played the bugle.

Kahn served during the war in the US Army Air Forces and took part in the Battle of Iwo Jima and bombing raids over Japan, as well as in aerial surveys of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the dropping of the atom bombs, the New York Times said.

He received two Bronze Stars for his service.

“My parents taught us to follow and cherish our Jewish faith and to love and be loyal to the great country of America that had opened its doors of freedom and opportunity to them,” he said in remarks quoted by the Published Reporter ahead of his 100 birthday.

Kahn, the son of immigrants from Poland, is survived by a daughter, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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