The greatest generation fading with time
Memorial Day each year reminds many that a group known as the "Greatest Generation" continues to fade away with time. YNN's Bill Carey says the men and women who served in World War two are optimistic their story will not be forgotten.
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AUBURN, N.Y. -- They are faces frozen in time. Americans on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific. U.S. troops on a march of liberation.
It is hard to believe that they are the same faces sprinkled among the crowd at events like a Memorial Day parade. They are here, but fewer and fewer in number.
Sixteen million Americans served in the armed forces during World War II. A million were killed or wounded during the conflict. But that was nearly 70 years ago. Now, the young men and women who won the war against fascism are losing the battle against time.
About a million and a half World War II veterans still survive, but they are dying at a rate of one every 90 seconds. The survivors, like John Turney, worry if younger generations will forget what happened so long ago…
Turney said, “I think a lot of it gets lost.”
…They are times that men and women like Nicholas Zamniak will never forget.
“Seems like it was yesterday that I was there. But, it's been a long time,” Zamniak said.
“They served. They were humble about it. They didn't expect anything when they came home. They just did it because that was the thing to do,” Cayuga County Sheriff David Gould said.
At 88, Allen Caldwell says he has never felt forgotten. That there is still a deep respect shown by those who to whom World War II is little more than fuzzy newsreels, decades old.
“People still thank you for your service?” our reporter asked.
Caldwell replied, “Oh yeah yeah.”
They still come to watch the parades and the ceremonies. Representing friends and comrades who have lost that battle with time.
“I miss my boys and all the guys that I knew. All you can do is pray for them, you know. And hope they're all alright,” Robert Strohm said.
“They were the greatest generation. People say it all the time and there is no doubt in my mind. They were the greatest generation,” Gould said.
A generation that now relies on those who follow to keep their story alive.