Love Independence? Thank a WW II Veteran.
“Independence Day is particularly important to seniors, as most elderly men fought in a branch of the military and their wives spent long months hoping for their safe return. Patriotism is important to seniors. They value the concept of freedom and often paid the ultimate sacrifice to promote it…Children and grandchildren should know about the struggles and accomplishments senior loved ones experienced in search of freedom. After all, every family plays a role in America’s own unique story.” https://www.livhome.com/independence-day-a-source-of-pride-for-seniors/
July 4th is next week, Tuesday. As we celebrate our nation’s independence this year, don’t forget to thank a senior. If you are caring for an elder who is in their late 80’s or older, chances are they served in WW II. Approximately 16 million US men and women served in that war. Those who didn’t serve directly, also suffered. The war effort was nation-wide. No one escaped rationing. All had family members or close friends serving in one way or another.
My dad never talked about his time in war until recently. Because he wasn’t in a major battle, he thought his experiences didn’t merit mentioning. There were incidents he didn’t want to remember. Oh, I had heard the funny stories of how he built a car out of parts he found scrounging bombed areas in Naples, Italy. I’d heard his story of living in a bombed, shell of a building as there were no barracks and how he installed running water to their building when no one else had any (cistern catching rainwater on roof and gravity).
Now, I learned while he was in Italy, an enemy soldier shot at him at close range, but the gun jammed. One afternoon after he finished a shift on radio tower duty, a sniper shot and killed his replacement as Dad walked back to camp. Near the end of the war he went on missions behind enemy lines. He was asked to continue, but he declined, because he had enough points to come home. As he was flying home, his entire unit, still in Italy, was killed in a plane crash. He was only one man, a “regular guy”, one out of 16 million. He thinks he didn’t do much but he experienced trauma.
I know it’s hard imagining the mood of the country in that era. It was decidedly different. Tom Brokaw named them “The Greatest Generation”. Patriotism is de rigueur for those seniors.
Take the opportunity this Independence Day to ask your senior about that time in his or her life. Find out why they deserve the moniker “The Greatest Generation”.
Do you have a story to share about a senior veteran or their remembrances of WWII?