D.C. Honors Its Centenarians

Article excerpt

Twenty D.C. residents, 100 years old or more, were honored at the 14th annual Salute to District of Columbia Centenarians luncheon yesterday.

"Through this event, we want to show that people are aging, but aging successfully," said Courtney Williams, special-events coordinator for the District of Columbia Office on Aging. "As people get older, they tend to get put in the corner."

These centenarians have lived through four major wars and the Great Depression. They have seen 17 presidents take office. They saw the Berlin Wall go up after World War II and saw it torn down in 1989. They have witnessed the invention of the automobile and radio.

Sadie Scott, born in Tennessee in 1900 and raised in North Carolina, came to the District in 1941. She said she still loves living here.

"D.C. has been wonderful for me," she said.

Her secret to a long life? "Going to church and helping people, like my neighbors and family," she said.

When Bertha Willbanks, who has spent most of her life here, was born in 1899, the District's City Hall building, located then at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, opened for the first time. …