Veterans Day: One WWII Vet Lives Long and Goes Tech

Today is Veterans Day. We have much to be thankful for in terms of the valuable service dedicated to our country by our veterans. I want to take the opportunity in this blog to talk about one amazing veteran in particular.

Phil Economon just celebrated his 97th birthday. He still is going strong, working out in the gym, driving his car, and living independently in the house that he has owned for years. Phil is a dear friend and a mentor to me. On numerous occasions Phil has provided indispensable wisdom, counsel and advice to me, and to other people who know and count on Phil. Indeed, when in doubt, we always go by this mantra: “Do what Phil would do.”

In World War II, Phil landed on Omaha Beach at Normandy. He was part of the Allied forces who marched across and liberated Europe. Phil is an American hero. Phil was honored this year by the California Assembly as the Veteran of the Year from his district.

Amazingly, Phil never was hurt in the war. However, on July 4th of this year, Phil was riding in a military vehicle as part of a local Fourth of July parade when someone inadvertently rolled up a window on his finger. So, about 70 years after landing on Omaha Beach, Phil in 2014 suffered his first World War II-related injury!

But that has not stopped Phil. He does has not let injury, or the fact that the rest of us in comparison are age-challenged, get in the way of his many pursuits.

And here is the tech angle, as this is a tech-related blog: Phil, who was born in 1917, regularly logs onto his computer and corresponds with his close friends by email. While Phil is surprisingly tech-savvy — especially given that tech did not really even exist until many decades after he was born — Phil still appreciates personal contact. Every day, Phil gets out and meets people face to face. He is a great believer in direct in-person communication.

Even though Phil has seen the ravages of war, he believes that the valiant efforts of those soldiers who fought alongside him truly saved the world. Nevertheless, Phil is the first to state that he believes in peace, and not war. He says that people operating from the goodness of their hearts will continue to lift this world up and to move civilization forward and better.

On this Veterans Day, let’s honor Phil and other veterans who sacrificed for the rest of us. I therefore also honor my father Harold Sinrod, who served as a Captain in the U.S. Army in Germany soon after World War II; my uncle, U.S. Army General Bernard Waterman, who served with distinction during his lifelong military career; my uncle, Joseph Laskin, who, like Phil, landed on Omaha Beach and helped to liberate Europe; and my cousin, Frank Laskin, who was killed in Vietnam toward the end of his tour of duty.

Last but not least, you might be interested in Phil’s secret for health and longevity. OK, here is the secret: a banana with peanut butter every morning!

Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is of counsel in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod’s columns, please email him at with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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