During the World War II, there were about 16 million members of the United States military. The remaining World War II Veterans are currently dying at a rate of about 1000 per day. Time is running out to get their stories before they are gone. Disappearing along with the deaths of the veterans is the memories that they hold. These men and women are known as the Greatest Generation.
Ken Burns, a well-known documentary producer, highlighted veterans in his 2007 film entitled “The War.” Many people across the country have worked to preserve stories of additional veterans.
As their numbers decrease, the National World War II Museum and the Library of Congress are two of several other groups trying to preserve the personal stories of war veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are about 2.5 million veterans still alive.
Martin Morgan, historian for the World War II Museum in New Orleans said:
“I think that’s low now, but judging by the passing of the World War I veterans, we’re predicting they will all be gone by 2020.”
Fewer veterans are able to attend their reunions, a fact that is sad for the ones left behind. Poor health, invalidity, and inability to travel are top reasons that they are not to get together as they have in the past.
Realizing that all of the World War II veterans will be gone in the next ten years or so will hopefully spur people on to continue collecting stories, feelings, and memorabilia while they are still available. These people deserve to be remember for the sacrifices they made for us.