It begins on Memorial Day each year – our thoughts inevitably drift toward WWII. This is natural, I think, because some of the great battles of the war were fought during this time of the year (Midway, D-Day).
Next week will be the time for remembering some of those great battles, but before then I’d like to remember the men and women who fought in the greatest and most devastating war in history. Even the youngest, those who joined as late as 1945 at age 17, are now around 80 years old. While they are still with us, we should take the time to thank them once again for defending and preserving our way of life. You might see them wearing baseball hats with “WWII Veteran” emblazened on the front, or attending ceremonies honoring our veterans. But much more likely you won’t see them at all, even though they’re all around us. They rarely talk about their ordeals, or seek praise for their extraordinary heroism – they will tell you that their country needed them and they went. They had a job to do.
They have set the standard for the kind of people we hope to be someday; not only because of what they did as young men and women, but for what they continued to be throughout their lives. Their character is pure and their patriotism unwavering.
There is a touching song being sent around the internet that honors them and those who fought later in Korea. It was written by Samuel R. Bierstock and put to music by John Melnick, and was inspired by a chance encounter with a WWII veteran (click here for the story behind the song).
The song is titled, “Before you go.”
They are all heroes, the WWII veterans. Thank them now, while they are still with us, for what they did. My father, who joined the Navy on D-Day, passed away before I took the time to thank him for what he did in WWII. Don’t make the same mistake, because we owe them everything.
Jeff, thanks for this piece. Last November my family said goodbye to my Dad. He was a WW2 Army veteran with service in the Pacific. Dad knew how much we loved him and how much we valued his service. I would echo your comments…if any reader has a loved one who served, in WW2 or any other time, let him or her know how proud you are of them.