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 Posted: Mon Aug 27th, 2012 03:38 pm
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BHR62
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I've always had a lot of respect for the WW 2 generation.  They grew up in the Depression and at 18 were handed rifles to go fight the Japs and Germans.  Yet they did this with a hell of a lot less whinning than today's generation.  My father passed away in May.  He was in the WW 2 generation.  He served in Patton's 3rd Army and was awarded a ton of decorations including the Silver Star and 3 Purple Hearts.  My mother grew up in Hitler's Third Reich.  She was a teenager at wars end.  She talks so casually about what it was like getting bombed and being in a nation that was getting crushed by its adversaries.  Things she talks about like going down stairs with blown in window frames from the bombs and while bombs are still falling and exploding she made her way to the bomb shelter.  Or seeing Munich completely devastated.  Makes me feel like all the whinning I did growing up seem so petty.  

This past Friday my mom's neighbor passed away.  He was 95 and a vet of the 101st Airborne in WW 2.  Its really sad to see this generation passing away.  When I was little you couldn't turn around without bumping into a WW 2 vet.  Now it seems that a great generation is almost gone.  All that personal history will soon be soon gone.  Just seems like we are losing so much history with the passing of this generation.



 Posted: Mon Aug 27th, 2012 07:37 pm
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HankC
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Most of the Dads in our 1965 neighborhood were vets. They could band together, organize and get projects done.

I remember a little league field getting built in 2 weeks. We’re talking cinder-block dugouts, fences, backstop, turf infield and a concession stand. Everything up to 1960s safety standards ;)

The materials just ‘showed up’ and the Dads (and sons) provided the labor.

One (or more) magical evenings (I think my memory is merging multiple events) they wandered out to the empty lot and played ball with the boys until about 15 Dads were playing alongside us shavers.

This included the Dad missing 3 fingers on his throwing hand from shrapnel and the Dad whose joke about his jagged scars was ‘there were 6 reported bayonet wounds in Europe and I have 2 of them’…



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 Posted: Tue Aug 28th, 2012 10:52 am
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BHR62
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Hank....they were a cut the BS and get it done generation. My dad wouldn't share his wartime experiences with anyone that wasn't family or a combat vet. He told me how when he was little the WW 1 vets were his dad and his friends dads. They would play baseball with the kids at the city park.

Savez....That is sad about your grandpa. I don't see how anyone can go through what these guys went through and come out anywhere near normal at the end of it all. My dad was a link to the Civil War generation. His best friends grandpa was the last surviving Civil War vet in the small town my dad grew up in back in the 30's. He said the vet would go down to the local store and play dominoes. He taught dad how to play and would tell him stories of charging up Missionary Ridge and other memories of the war.



 Posted: Tue Aug 28th, 2012 04:17 pm
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HankC
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I'd not say they 'cut the BS' but rather they knew how to work around it.

As an 8-year-old I knew what SNAFU meant without knowing what it stood for ;)



 Posted: Wed Feb 20th, 2013 08:58 pm
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BHR62-

  It is indeed sad to see the end of the WW II generation. Over 2/3 of a century has passed since the end of the war. As the link below shows, there are only about a million still living out of over 16 million that served in the military during the war.

The National WWII Museum | New Orleans: Honor: WWII Veterans Statistics

  I knew many, many of them, including several that I was related to. (Some would be well over 100 years old if they were still living). I even served with a few WW II vets. Now ALL of those that I knew are gone. I miss them a lot.

Last edited on Wed Feb 20th, 2013 10:23 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Wed Feb 20th, 2013 10:37 pm
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BHR62
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wow that link really brings it home. I was born in the 60's and growing up it just seemed you couldn't turn around without bumping into a WW2 vet. So sad to see them fading away.



 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2013 06:56 am
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No, not all the personal history. All the people to relate that history, yes. But at least some have recorded their experinces so generations to come will be able to read what life was like for these individuals.

As for the fact that it will be sad to see them go, well that's a common feature of warfare. The vets get older and they slowly pass away one by one. It's sad to loose them because they were there and know even better what that was like. Their wives and girlfriends know what it was like on the home front, as your mother can attest to, and can paint us a picture there. I've been lucky to speak with a few vets about their experinces and always feel a sense of enthrallment to listen to them. But for me the saddest thing personally is that it wasn't until after my great-aunt on my father's side died that I learned my great-uncle had been a WWII vet (he'd passed before she did and I don't remember any mention of it at his funeral). I never knew either of my grandfathers, both men died when my folks were kids. I know my mother's father served in the Pacific during the war, but as I've understood things for whatever the reason my father's father never served and never learned why he didn't (was he a 4F or was there some other reason). I only found out my great-uncle had served when I went to help move some things out of their house after her death, which left me wishing I had known before he'd passed. Maybe he wouldn't have wanted to talk about it, maybe he would have, I'll never know. Never talked about this with either grandmother, with my mother's mother I did ask about what life during the Depression was like, and with my father's mother I talked a little about the Titanic (she was born the same day the ship set sail so she had a bit of a fascinaion with it).

Something to think about, many of the same young men who fought in WWII served in Korea. And thirty to forty years from now the same thing will hold true for the men and women who served in Vietnam.



 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2013 12:57 pm
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Hellcat-

  In some cases, it is the same people who served throughout. A trip to a national cemetery will reveal memorials that say: "World War II, Korea, Vietnam." Some were on active duty at the end of World War II, only to find themselves in Korea five years later, and in Vietnam fifteen years after that.

  A few of these individuals remained in the military during the great drawdown in the late 1940s. Many others were recalled to active duty after the Korean War began. Some of those made the decision to stay in the military and do 20 years of active duty, often ending their careers around 1970 when they were perhaps 50 years old.



 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2013 03:57 pm
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HankC
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this tells us how close a thing WW2 really was.

pretty much everyone conscriptable was in the armed forces by 1943.

in 1943, 1944 and 1945, every high school graduating class went directly to war...



 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2013 05:51 am
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The ironic thing is I never thought of Vietnam even though I knew some of the officer in Vietnam had served in WWII. I guess I thought more of the enlisted and just thought those who had served as enlisted in WWII, while they would have been five years older in Korea, would have been a little too old to serve in Vietnam. Never thought about the fact that some folks, officers or enlisted, would have remained in. Should have but I didn't.

I wouldn't be so certain that every high school class from '43 to '45 went to war.



 Posted: Mon May 13th, 2013 11:56 am
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Hellcat-

  I met a number of officers who fit into the WW II to Vietnam category. I feel compelled to present one who I had personal contact with.

Jack L. Treadwell - Find A Grave Memorial  (What better name could an infantry officer have than: "Treadwell?")

  I met COL Treadwell at then 4th Army HQ at Ft. Sam Houston, TX a few years before he retired. At that time I was a young officer whose duties included giving briefings to senior staff. One of these officers was COL Treadwell. He was greatly respected by superiors as well as subordinates. VIPs, both military and civilian, came to visit him at the HQ.

  At the time I knew him, COL Treadwell was quiet, even serene. He always put me at ease with a smile and encouraging words. I was sorry to see him leave, and saddened by news of his death in 1977. He was one of the finest of the: "Greatest Generation."



 Posted: Thu Jun 6th, 2013 08:33 pm
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  On this 69th anniversary of the landings in Normandy, it is worthwhile to reflect on the passing of World War II veterans from the realm of politics, as well as from the society as a whole.

With Lautenberg Gone, WW II Vets Fade From Politics | RealClearPolitics

  Over 16 million Americans served in the military in World War II, and 400,000 (one in forty) were killed. But the rest came home and millions took advantage of the GI Bill and got educations. For the most part, they prospered and advanced not only their own interests, but those of the society as a whole.

  Many of these veterans transitioned from a military life to a political one and were proven to be good leaders. They faced down a formidable foe in the Soviet Union, and history shows that they prevailed in the end.

  There was a time a few decades ago when World War II vets were prominent at all levels of government, as well as business, and every other type of endeavor. Those days have now passed, much to my regret. Even if I profoundly disagreed with some of them politically, I could still respect them for having shown that they had backbone in fighting a war for national survival.

  Our society is different nowadays. The percentage of leaders in government who have served in the military is the lowest that it has been since World War II.

Veterans in Congress at lowest level since World War II - CNN.com

  The draft was ended 40 years ago. While my personal preference is for a professional military, I can see some advantages in requiring citizens to serve in the armed forces. Forty years ago, a young man still had to consider the military question when he pondered his future. That is no longer the case.

  Only about half of one percent of the population are currently on active duty in the military. That number will soon be reduced further. During World War II, most families were: "Invested" in the military. They had a family member serving, or at least some other relative, perhaps. These days, only a tiny percentage of the population has any connection at all to the military. This tiny percentage is called upon to make the sacrifices associated with fighting the country's wars, while all the rest are encouraged to go out and spend money.

  For its part, the small subculture that is the military feels more and more isolated from the general population. For the most part, those leading the country these days have never had any connection to the military. In my view, the country was better off when its leaders had proven themselves in the crucible of war, and knew well the costs and sacrifices that it demanded.



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