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Author: Subject: WWII Veterns

Zen Peach





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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 02:53 PM
On my job I have the opportunity to talk to a lot of people every day.

When I have an opportunity to talk to a WWII Vet I jump at the chance.

They are dying at the rate of 1,000 per day (as one told me recently)

Soon, they will be gone. And a new generation will never have known one.

If you know one or meet one, take a moment and thank them for their service to our country.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 03:12 PM
Good post and good advice. All of my uncles were WW2 vets and all are gone now. My uncle John was decorated for quick thinking when his sub sprang a leak and he used a mattress to help plug the hole.

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 04:28 PM
Always....

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 05:05 PM
Last week when I was home in Michigan, we toured a WWII sub, the Silversides. Fascinating stuff!

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 05:08 PM
Probably go to the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA next week - also take lots of trips over to the WWII Memorial here in DC.

Yeah - the Vets are mostly in their late 80-s and eary 90's now....

 
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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 06:48 PM
We could sure use a big dose of that generation's common sense, unselfish sacrifice, spirit of purpose, honor, ethics, and patriotism right now. As they pass we loose more and more of what built and made our country great. Regrettably, I fear that their children - the baby boomers (of which I am one) - will be looked back upon by history as squandering much of the riches and opportunity they were given.

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 07:59 PM
Yes, they are a very special group...(my dad being one of them!)
 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 08:06 PM
Tom Brokow labeled them "The Greatest Generation" and I have to agree.

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 08:18 PM
In our town we have a dude still cruising around from the airforce during world war one! Born in 1896, bit of a local celeb round here, goes to the theatre and is regularly out and about

Allingham credits "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women ó and a good sense of humour" for his longevity


 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 08:34 PM
What a distinguished gentleman, who apparently is not adversed to having good time.

 

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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 09:10 PM
My father-in-law was in WWII. I think the rest of the family has heard the stories so many times they don't ask much anymore, but I always ask him questions about his time in the war. I've heard a few of the stories more than once, but I don't mind. My Grandfather was also in WWII, but he died when I was young and never had the chance to talk with him about it.
 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/16/2007 at 09:18 PM
quote:
Tom Brokow labeled them "The Greatest Generation" and I have to agree.


No doubt man...

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/17/2007 at 05:34 AM
quote:
quote:
Tom Brokow labeled them "The Greatest Generation" and I have to agree.


No doubt man...


My perspective is this...My dad came over from Scotland as a young boy, dropped out of school during the Depression to help support his family, fought in WWII, raised 5 kids, worked til he was 61, retired and passed away 6 weeks later. Giving his all to the things that mattered to him; his family, his faith and his country.

 

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  posted on 8/17/2007 at 07:05 PM
Tomorrow, Saturday, August 18th, 20007. There is a special ceremony in my community. We also call our Vets, Warriors, they the same ones that faught in all the major world wars and even up to some of the more recent wars. This ceremony involves the Warriors of WWII, which only a warrior can present and bestow the sacred feather upon another.....we are very please that we still have a few WWII Vets/Warriors to carry out this ceremony, we thank them, we honor them and we will feast with them. This is going to be a good day.

 

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  posted on 8/17/2007 at 08:50 PM
Sounds like a glorious day for everyone involved.

If you want to see some WWII vets, go to any VA hospital and ask if you can visit some. Many who live in the "Veterans' Home" usually attached to a VA hospital are ther because there isn't anyone left to take care of them. Sadly, many of the WWII vets outlived their children.
They would love the company, and I bet you'll come back to hear more of the old war stories.

 

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  posted on 8/17/2007 at 09:52 PM
Found out that a few members of the Parachute Battalion will be attending as well. They are all looking forward to coming. These are the guys that jumped in the Rhine and on D-Day.

 

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  posted on 8/18/2007 at 04:18 PM
quote:
Found out that a few members of the Parachute Battalion will be attending as well. They are all looking forward to coming. These are the guys that jumped in the Rhine and on D-Day.




My Uncle was one of those boys, went in at Arnheim. his whole company was killed in front of him, All his friends, he was the only survivor, he rarely talked of it.
My Grandfather was shot through the spine by a german sniper in Belgium, spent the rest of his life a very poorly man until his death at 57.
Another Uncle made it through the entire North Africa campaign, El Alamein, Sicily and up to around Monte Casino, Italy. He was burnt alive in his tank.
Another Uncle was in the eighth army, again he was inviolved in El alemein, he made it out the other side.
My other grandfather, was in somewhere - but none of us knew where, when or to what extent - we only had an inkling when we found his dog-tags and some paperwork after his passing.
My Great Grandfather did pretty well - he fought in the South Africa/Transvaal war of the 1890's/1900's - then the first world war - then Firefighter during the Blitz. He was killed by a horse and cart , that ran him over when he was riding his bike!

It's strange round here, there are lots of fellas who fought, and reminders are everywhere, this was the heaviest bombed TOWN in Britain - it was on the Luftwafe's route home - the Battle Of Britain was fought above us - and it was part of the staging area for D-Day.
For example, I was at work reading a book (!) - this old fella walked past "what are you reading? ........ Spitfires eh?" He walked off, then came back .... "You Know the Autumn of '39, We were in France, Polishing buttons ... enjoying ourselves .... what we called the phoney war ...." He went on "I once saw an Australian pilot crash 100 yards in front me, after screwing up a victory roll over our airfield ... Cobber Caine was his name ... watched it through my gunsight ..... " I was gobsmacked, i'd read about the same incident not 5 pages previous in my book.
A guy who paints stuff at my work - was in one of the 5 gliders, that went into Caen, France ... pre-d-day - with Major Howard , and took Pegasus Bridge. Eventually got hit by mortar crossing a river in germany. He has a glass eye to show for it .

I could probably go on and on about stuff like this .... but i won't

 

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  posted on 8/18/2007 at 04:23 PM
Great stories bro.. Thanks for sharing.

And I for one have no problem with you telling more

 

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  posted on 8/18/2007 at 07:27 PM
quote:
A guy who paints stuff at my work - was in one of the 5 gliders, that went into Caen, France ... pre-d-day - with Major Howard , and took Pegasus Bridge. Eventually got hit by mortar crossing a river in germany. He has a glass eye to show for it .

I could probably go on and on about stuff like this .... but i won't



Next time you see the guy yell "HAM and JAM" toward him. That was the code words that meant the Ox and Bucks had taken the first two objectives.

Get them to talk and post their stories. I'd love to read them.

My Dad was in the 196th Field Artillery, and was wounded in Belgium at the start of the Bulge. He didn't talk much about WWII until a few years ago when the WWII Memorial was being discussed, and it was one of the last things that he got excited about.
He started talking about some of the guys he served with, what they did for fun, how they loaded and fired the cannons (105's), and how they were about the only ones able to actually knock out tanks since the Shermans didn't have enough fire power.
He had commented once about them aiming the guns like rifles, sighting down the barrels, at tanks and what he called "hard points".
Imagine my surprise when I read Ambroses' books and read about the same thing.

Here's a photo of him looking at the "Wall Of Rememberence" at the WWII Memorial. I guess he was thinking about all those who didn't come back.



What made him proud, and touched many of us, was children would come up and ask if he really was a soldier from WWII. When he told them yes, many shook his hand, said thank you, and a few kids even saluted.

 

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  posted on 8/18/2007 at 08:45 PM
Sounds like a great man Jerry.

Hell, they all were.

 

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  posted on 8/18/2007 at 09:23 PM
Today we did the ceremony and today was truely a glorious day. This ceremony is truely special and rare, and I am privellaged to be part of it. Flag of both the United States and Canada as we thanked all those that served.

Of the very few vets that were there, they really had a great time. The one vet that was there was in the Parachute Battalion and when we met, the first think he talked about was our grandfather, who, they Jumped at the Battle of the Rhine and at Normandy.....was truely amazing to hear him speak about some of the things the went through, the real commodary that is still there back then as it is today. He spoke about their jumps, how they saved each others life, how they got wounded and survived; while so many of their brothers lost their lives on those fields.

The Highest Honors have been bestowed today. A very large number of community members came out today as well as near by towns. Two ten foot BBQ's were use to cook steaks and potatos for everyone. The Vets really enjoyed it.

Although I am a bit young, compared to the War Vets, we do all we can to thank them, honor them and make sure they are very well taken care of.

 

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  posted on 8/19/2007 at 02:15 PM
My father and my uncle (his twin brother) were both W W II vets my dad was in the Navy on a DE (Destroyer Escort) he died in 1967 from cancer attributed to the asbestos on ships, my mother never got a cent. My uncle is alive and well and he was a B-24 pilot flew a plane called Fearless Fosdick ( I think it was a cartoon character back then) when he talks about the missions he flew he is so humble and downplays the bravery involved. B-24's were'nt pressurized and you froze your ass off even in those heavy flight suits.He met my aunt in Europe right after the war,she was a Holocaust survivor who had lost he whole family in a concentration camp..My aunt passed away recently after volunteering for many years at the Holocaust Museum in Wash. D.C. I worry about my uncle being alone now and we are planning a trip to Europe to bike thru the towns in UK and France where he was stationed and flew out of.Whoever said they were the greatest generation they were so right, they did what they had to do,never complained one bit, and they saved the world,God love em all.

 

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  posted on 8/27/2007 at 01:48 PM
PBS had a great show on last night about Iwo Jima, with many interviews with the soldiers that were there fighting on that island. many admitted that they had never told their story to their families, much less their friends. I wrote down some of their comments as the show progressed. Masny of them knew the exact name of the soldier that saved their lives and didnít make it.


Japanese soldier- ďDeath is as light as a feather, but duty is heavier than a mountainĒ

American soldiers on Iwo Jima;

"They were tough fighters, loyal, but if you killed their leader, they were lost. That was their downfall, I think."

"I saw a dead Japanese soldier and his wallet was hanging out. I grabbed it and looked for a souvenier. I found pictures of his mother and father, and of his daughter and wife. I left it alone. He didnít klnow me, and I didnít know him. That shows you I wasnít much of a combat soldier, because I wondered what this was all for."

"A guy came up to me and said, 'My buddyís guts just splattered all over my face.' I had seen war already, and I was wondering, 'Why the hell are you telling me this? I donít care. Iíve got work to do.'Ē

"I came up on this soldier that got hit and died instantly. The corpsman came over and saw that he was dead, and started crying, but with no tears. But, he was crying. He said, 'I canít do this anymore. I canít stand to see anybody else wounded or dead.' I put my arm aroud his shoulder and tried to comfort him. Then, somebody yelled for a medic, and he picked up his medical bag and moved on."

"After we captured it, it became the emergency airfield for the injured bombers that got hit over japan. There was over 2000 emergency landings, and that added up to over 25,000 lives saved."

"I had been with these fellows all this time, and here I was, the only one leaving (crying). Youíd think Iíd be happy to leave, but I here was, sad about everything. And, thatís that."

"There is more of an adjustment being made coming back from that (war), than going to it."

"I did collect a tobacco sack full of gold teeth, because they (japanese) were known for that Ė gold teeth. Thatís an indication of how ruthless that you let yourself become. Itís hard to explain. I couldnít do that now. I donít think that if I was a mortician I could do that now."

"We had a guy that collected ears. He kept collecting ears. And we had a CO that made him dig a 6 foot pit and bury those ears."

"Itís hell, but you get used to it."

Youíre making me say things thatÖ(pauses) ..not that any of it is bad, but it is over and done with."

"Itís not that you're ashamed to talk about it, its just that sometimes you think of your fellow marinesÖ(choking up), and you think that they never got a chance in life."

One soldier talked about a lot in the show as Congressional Medal of Honor winner John Basilone. Basilone had already won the Medal of Honor at Quadalcanal, and then re-enlisted and found himself doing equally heroic acts on Iwo Jima.




quote:
On the night of October 24, 1942, the weapons man of the hour was
"Manila John" Basilone, the platoon sergeant of the heavy .30-caliber
machine-gun platoon attached to Co. C, 7th Marines, 1stMarDiv.
Basilone was everywhere at once, clearing jams, calming nervous
gunners, replacing parts, and repositioning guns. John Basilone
inspired all who saw him that night: he became the glue that bound
Co. C together, and for that he earned the Medal of Honor

October on Guadalcanal by Eric Hammel...Leatherneck Oct 1992







quote:
But newspapers and radio told millions of another D-Day loss
[on Iwo Jima] - Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone. Already a Marine Corps
legend as the first Leatherneck to be awarded the Medal of Honor in
World War II, "Manila John" was leading his machine gun platoon through
the fury of Red Beach II when a mortar cut him down.

In 1942, on a black October night in the steaming jungles of
Guadalcanal, Basilone had single-handedly wiped out a company of
Japanese trying to overrun his position on the Tenaru River. With a
Colt .45 pistol and two machine guns - one cradled in his arms after the
other was knocked out - he stopped a screaming banzai attack and held
out until dawn, when reinforcements came up. Nearly a hundred sprawled
enemy dead were around his cut-off outpost.

Basilone was dark complexioned and handsome, had big ears like Clark
Cable, and a wide grin. His Italian parents beamed with pride on a very
special afternoon in 1943 when 30,000 well-wishers honored him at a gala
celebration on the 2,000-acre estate of tobacco heiress Doris Duke near
Raritan, New Jersey, his hometown.

"Manila John" blushed when photographers snapped his picture while
being kissed by a Hollywood starlet, smiled broadly when an oil portrait
was unveiled in the tiny brick town hall, and was shyly grateful for the
$5,000 was bond neighbors gave him. He turned down the bars of a second
lieutenant. "I'm a plain soldier," he said, "and I want to stay one."
From earliest memory, Basilone had wanted to be a professional fighting
man. He had done a hitch in the Army before joining the Marines in
1940, and had served in the Philippines - hence his nickname.

To millions, Basilone was a hero, one of the first of the war, and
could have remained stateside training troops and selling was bonds.
Instead, he said farewell to his new wife, also a Marine, and joined the
Fifth Division. Staying behind, he told buddies, would be "like being a
museum piece." And it wouldn't seem right, he said "if the Marines made
a landing on the Manila waterfront and 'Manila John' wasn't among them."

Now, with the invasion ninety minutes old, the intrepid sergeant had
one thought. "C'mon, you guys! Let's get these guns off the beach!" he
yelled at the gunners just behind, backs hunkered low and straining
under the heavy loads of weapons and ammunition amid the blistering
fire. The wasplike whir of an incoming mortar sounded its eerie
warning; then a shattering blast.

Basilone lunged forward in midstride, arms flung outward over his
head. He and four comrades died in that instant. On his outstretched
left arm was a tattoo: "Death before Dishonor!" 'Manila John" wouldn't
see Dewey Boulevard again, but he had won the Navy Cross, The Marine
Corps' second highest decoration for valor.

IWO JIMA - Legacy of Valor by Bill D. Ross









[Edited on 8/27/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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  posted on 8/27/2007 at 03:46 PM
Thanks Dutch..........and you are so right.

Here are my two favorite WWII Veterans. My Mother and Father. Mom is 86 and Dad is 87.
They met and were married in Tampa Florida. Dad was stationed in Alaska in the 11th Army Air Corps. Both were officers, they have been married 64 years...............They still come in to the office everyday. My mothers brother "Harry Potter" was a marine at Midway.



[Edited on 8/27/2007 by rottinpeach]

 

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  posted on 8/27/2007 at 05:40 PM
quote:
Thanks Dutch..........and you are so right.

Here are my two favorite WWII Veterans. My Mother and Father. Mom is 86 and Dad is 87.
They met and were married in Tampa Florida. Dad was stationed in Alaska in the 11th Army Air Corps. Both were officers, they have been married 64 years...............They still come in to the office everyday. My mothers brother "Harry Potter" was a marine at Midway.



[Edited on 8/27/2007 by rottinpeach]


You have got to be proud. Now you can be carrier of the message when they pass over.

 

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