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Michael Penn
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 5:42am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The New York Times, in this article, reports this statistic: "Fewer than 3 percent of the 16 million American veterans of the war are still alive, and all are in their 90s or beyond."

History disappearing before our eyes.

As the article above describes, so many veterans simply refused to discuss their experiences, understandably.

Both my grandfathers fought, and neither discussed it. My mother's father was more involved in many battles, from a regular soldier at the start to a partisan living on mountains in the wild. He was shot at some point. Although when I was a kid he and I loved to watch "war movies" together, even showing me in a playful way how to march etc., he absolutely refused to talk about what he really did, witnessed, and suffered, even when I was an adult. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 5:55am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Some years back I read that veterans of World War II are dying at the rate of one thousand per day. It makes it all the more important that we commemorate them and what they did. Soon there will be no one who actually lived through the War.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 6:15am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Does any one on the JBF know a living WW2 veteran?
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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 6:53am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Both of my grandfathers (deceased) served. My mother's father was a tail gunner in a B-17 and my father's father was stationed in the Pacific digging fox holes all across small islands. My maternal grandfather died before I was old enough to ask him about his experience and my paternal grandfather lived too far away to be an influence in my upbringing. In my later years I knew him as a solitary, pious and stoic man who always named his dog Max; six black labs over 60+ years, and never stopped working.

That generation was different. Maybe it was the wars or just how the world worked back then, but that generation sacrificed their lives, well being and innocence to do what was right. On my drive into work today I found myself wondering when the last of them will pass and what we have truly lost with their absence. Reminders like this anniversary are too infrequent and we must all do better at honoring the great sacrifice these men and woman made for all those that came after.


Edited by Eric Ladd on 06 June 2019 at 6:54am
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 6:54am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

A couple. Met them through my American Legion post and through work.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 7:10am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Joe Sinnott.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 9:14am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Both my grandfathers served. Paternal was in the Army. Fought in North Africa. Maternal was in the Navy in the Pacific. I’ve heard various stories as to what he actually did on the ship. I’m gonna ask my grandma if I can go thru his old stuff soon. Army Gramps was wounded in battle and the medics left him lying there to die twice figuring he wouldn’t make it. On the third trip, they decided he’s a fighter and took him back. He had shrapnel in one of his lungs and it had to taken out. So he lived since then with only one lung. Navy Gramps served his full time and came home afterward. He never really talked about any of his experiences. I’ve heard bits and pieces that he was in a few battles, but nothing concrete. 

Sadly, both are already gone. NG passed the same day Princess Diana died in 1997. AG died July 4, 2004. 

Grandma’s still kicking, tho! She turned 101 two weeks ago. 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 9:32am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

My maternal grandfather died about 16-17 years ago. He was in the Army Engineering Corps, and actually involved in crossing the Rhine when we invaded Germany.





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Kevin Brown
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 9:43am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Does any one on the JBF know a living WW2 veteran?

******************************

Yes, my wife's uncle.  For his age, he's quite fit and very sharp mentally.   He used to walk at least 5 miles a day, but I know that has decreased.
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Phil Kreisel
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 9:48am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Two of my wife's uncles (both recently deceased) were Canadian paratroopers who were among the thousands dropped from the sky on D-Day.  Her Uncle Danny loved to talk about the war.  Ironically, he repeatedly said it was one of the best experiences of his life (though he never went into specific details).  My Father-in-law also served during WWII, but he never talked about it.
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Does any one on the JBF know a living WW2 veteran?

*************************************

I did until about an hour ago.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 12:50pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Sorry to hear, Tim. 
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Steven Brake
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 1:42pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Slightly OT, but as last year was the centenary of its ending, I read lots of books on WW1 - novels, histories, poetry collections, biographies, etc.

One of them was The Last Fighting Tommy, the biography of Harry Patch - who was born in 1898 and died in 2009. A life spanning three centuries.

He was born during the last years of the reign of Queen Victoria, and died in the early months of Barack Obama's presidency.

He was a little boy when the Wright Brothers made their first flight, and was drawing his pension when we landed on the moon.

He was a teenager when the Russian Revolution took place, and in his 90s when the Soviet Union fell. He outlived a state.

I wonder how old the last veteran will be when they finally pass?

Edited by Steven Brake on 06 June 2019 at 1:43pm
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 2:53pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Luckily, the GOP chair thinks celebrating D-Day means “celebrating our President” and doesn't think Americans like the constant negativity associated with it. 
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Bruce Tartaglia
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 6:13pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

My wife has a client of 30 years that stormed Hitler's home in the Alps - where they fully expected to find him.  He married is wife before he left, and they have remained married ever since raising 4 children.  He is not faring well these days, but I know being honored in this way means a lot to him.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 06 June 2019 at 9:40pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

It's still hard to watch programs about the first landers... I always start thinking of bullet proof shield designs, lightest weight packs and arms, and formations for getting to cover quickest with fewest in line of fire... and then super fast landing vehicles with ways of getting personnel out fastest and onto solid ground. Sadly they underestimated the solidity of the defenses above the shore and thought the bombardment before the landing would do much more than it did, same as with some of the Pacific islands.

So many ultimate prices paid. :^(
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James Best
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Posted: 12 June 2019 at 3:55pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Sadly, I fear that the significance of D-Day will be lost on the next generation of Americans. Without the veterans being alive to carry on its legacy, the connection to the past will fade away... Too many Americans today can't remember (or simply don't know) which countries made up the Axis and Allies. If you can't identify who the good guys and bad guys were, then the sacrifices that were made in the quest of freedom are going to be forgotten.

Eventually, only select citizens, dedicated historians, and the descendants of those D-Day soldiers will fully understand the personal courage that it took to invade those beaches.  
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 12 June 2019 at 8:32pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I cannot imagine how terrified those troops must have been going off the
transports in those first waves. My grandfather served in the Pacific (his
brother in Europe), and proud to be related to him is an understatement.
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