100 On The Fourth: Mandan's Leo Voll Celebrates In More Ways Th - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

100 On The Fourth: Mandan's Leo Voll Celebrates In More Ways Than One

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"Four score and seven years ago, our Fathers brought forth a new nation.  Conceived in liberty, dedicated to the proposition that all men and women are created equal.  There."

He's spry.  He's bilingual.  And he's 100 years old.

A Fourth of July baby a century ago, Leo Voll is having his cake and eating it too.  A special place in the Mandan parade makes it seem like one big birthday party.  

Leo takes it all in stride.  He's more excited to talk about his military service during World War Two than his Independence Day celebrity.  "Dug a lot of foxholes to protect us from the enemy when they started shooting so they wouldn't get us standing up," says Leo, who lives in Mandan.

Leo was born in Heil, North Dakota, on -- "July 4, 1913," he says firmly.  He served in the U.S. military, married, and raised seven children.  All a long time ago -- but he can remember even longer.  "Four years old.  My sister picked some nails and they put 'em in my pocket.  They gave me a little hammer and they said, 'you can be a carpenter now.'"  And he did.  He also became an Army man, a farmer and a worker at Antelope Valley Station.

Not only can Leo recite the beginnings of the Gettysburg Address, he can also recite a childhood poem, in German, then interpret for you in English.  The poem talks of Leo being little, but just a few moments with Leo Voll, and it's clear his spirit is very large, indeed:  "I'm little, but big enough to sing a song.  It rings so loud.  It rings so clear from all the heavenly things."


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