WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Harold Garrish, who was born the day World War I ended and who served in the Navy at Pearl Harbor as it was attacked, spent this Veterans Day – his 95th birthday – dancing.
"My wife and I always had the inclination to dance, but I was working mostly long hours day and night, sometimes weekends and just didn't have time to dance," he said.
After Garrish's wife died, he began taking lessons at Babs McDance studio in Wilmington.
"Well I had plenty of time on my hands and didn't want to sit around an empty house."
Since beginning lessons about seven years ago, Garrish has learned a variety of dances including Fox Trot, Rumba, Night Club Two Step, and East Coast Swing.
"I think dancing keeps me active," he said. "It may have prolonged my life."
"The average person doesn't, I guess, identify all that goes into the leading, the following, the identifying of the music, the timing and rhythm," said instructor Babs McCullen-Welker. "He just executed 20 steps. Twenty different ones,"
But even though he had just performed all those steps, Garrish wasn't content.
"I practiced, I thought I knew it, the two-way underarm turn," he said. "I blew that completely today I'm going learn that step if it kills me."
Part of the reason for his determination to master the step: he's set to perform Tuesday night at his 95th birthday party.