I’m a Veteran of two tours of duty in Vietnam but do not honor me. It is the Veterans of WWII that truly need to be honored and remembered. So fly your flags and buy your poppies but most of all, remember. It’s always a rough day for me. I lost alot of good friends.
I read this today and wanted to share it with you.
WWII Museum: The number of WWII veterans is dwindling
William P. Rutledge
Member, Board of Trustees, the National World War II Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana
Today, Nov. 11, commemorates the 90th anniversary of Veterans Day in America. I encourage all Californians to seek out and thank a veteran for their service to our country, especially those who fought in World War II like my friend, Ollie Thomas, who was a tank commander with Patton’s Third Army. For these men and women, this day grows only more poignant with each passing year because those who fought that war for us are leaving us.
As a member of the Board of Trustees of The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, I attended the opening of its new expansion last week. Though the event was celebratory, I left with some sobering statistics that illustrate the urgency of cementing the legacy of our World War II veterans while they are still with us.
In 2000, there were 555,974, WWII veterans in California, according to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There are now 213,118. Ten years from now, just 30,370 will be alive. Across the nation, we lose 900 WWII veterans a day.
It is urgent that we honor these heroes now, while there is time. Strangely, given the scope, magnitude and importance of World War II, America had been woefully late in acknowledging a debt we can never repay to those who defended the liberty we take for granted.
That is why completing The National World War II Museum is so important. In 2003, Congress designated the institution as the nation’s World War II museum, preserving the legacy and telling the story of the "Greatest Generation."
It holds their memories and is a monument to their valor, but it’s also a place where all Americans can come to learn the important lessons of World War II for all generations: freedom is not free.
The National World War II Museum tells the story in the words and voices of those who fought the war and faced its horrors. To visit it is to remember the lesson that peace without the resolve to defend freedom only brings blood, sweat, toil and tears. Its artifacts – aircraft, landing craft and personal accounts – link us to the young Americans who fought in WWII. They purchased for us a precious birthright we can’t take for granted. And while reminding visitors of the sacrifices we made then, the National World War II Museum also symbolizes renewal. As it grows into its new campus in downtown New Orleans, the museum is helping with that city’s post-hurricane recovery and becoming an anchor for a reviving city.
As we observe this special day of remembrance and thanks, it is my hope that the nation recognizes the sacrifice of the "Greatest Generation" to the preservation of this country’s founding principles and the strength of the American spirit.
Again, I encourage you to seek out a World War II veteran and say "thank you." It might be the last chance you’ll get to meet a genuine hero.
My Veterans Day song – Alan Jackson