Guest Author - Jeff Valentine
Here's a chilling figure for you:
World War II Veterans in America are now passing away at a rate of about 1000 souls per day.
These are the men and women who fought the "good" fight, crushing the Nazi machine in Europe and denying Japanese Imperialism across the Pacific.
World War II Vets are the men and women who benefited from the first GI Bill, were the mothers and fathers of the baby-boom generation, and were directly responsible for turning America into the successful nation that it is today.
I once overheard two WWII Vets talking in line at the Post Office. They randomly met in line, one being a former Army infantryman in Europe and the other a Marine in the Pacific.
They only briefly spoke of their service, but with that common bond established, they shared tales of careers, families, and grandchildren ...full lives lived since their war.
My year in Iraq seemed pale in comparison to what these gentlemen must have seen and experienced. I just stood respectfully in awe, and listed to what they had to say.
As each day passes, our World War II Veterans leave a legacy for all future generations. We should be truly and humbly grateful for the sacrifices made by these men and women who are now passing.
A Salute should also go to the thousands that sacrificed their lives so many years ago during wartime. If not for them, you and I would be speaking German or Japanese as our primary language.
These patriots knew the value of a dollar, and the value of hard work. They survived the Great Depression after all.
That their hard work and determination built America, there is no doubt. As they continue to pass, the collective knowledge of a generation goes with them. Unless we collect and preserve this knowledge, we may be doomed to live without it.
I encourage everyone reading this to seek out a WW II Veteran and humbly thank him or her for his or her service and sacrifice before itís too late.
Ask them what they think is the best course of action for our Nation today. Ask them what they think we should do to weather a tough economy and to prevail on the battlefield.
I'd be willing to bet that their answers, if implemented, might be exactly what we need.
This Article is OVER but not OUT! - Head on over to the bellaonline Veterans Forum to continue the conversation and let us know your thoughts. Your input to the community is greatly appreciated.
You may also email the Veterans Editor directly.