Number of World War II veterans dwindle - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Number of World War II veterans dwindle

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May 26, 2008

Tifton -- These men are some of the last of who have been called the Greatest Generation. "When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, it killed two of my close, best classmates and friends," said World War II Airman William Wood.

"I was on the U.S. S. General U. L. Scott. It was quite an experience. One that I will never forget. Some of it good. Some of it bad," said World War II Navy veteran, Charles Evans.

Once 16 million strong, veterans of World War II are dying at a rate of more than a thousand a day. "They are leaving us at such a high rate, and I want to thank them. They made a terrible sacrifice for their generation and generations to come," said Sgt. 1st Class Shaun Wood of the Georgia Army National Guard.

"There was 127 men in my parachute company, and we lost all but 47 of them throughout the war. And as far as I can tell, I am the only one left," said Wood.

And as their numbers become fewer, so do the memories from this major part of American History. "During the invasion of the Philippines, it was my duty to help the wounded off the hospital ship. This was a terrible thing. There were terrible things that I saw. And it was something that I just can't forget," said Evans.

"I like to thank them not only because they are the reason we have the freedoms that we do today, but because sometimes they are forgotten because the war was so long ago," said Sgt. Wood.

"Memorial Day is that one special time a year when where we can take the time to think about them, to appreciate them, and do nice things for them. And I just think its important to thank them," said daughter of a World War II veteran, Debbie Leggitt.

And with so many leaving us, now is the time to express our appreciation. The Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that there are about 2.5 million World War II veterans left.

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