I just read the WDAY Information Teams’ blog. I get teary-eyed just thinking about the great generation of WW2 veterans who literally did save the world from evil and ruthless dictators. I was alive, but too young, to remember the details of those days but my curiosity about history has led me to learn about those times of great distress, sorrow, patriotism and noble efforts by the military men and women and the people on the homefront throughout the entire duration of the war that was truly world-wIde.
Recently on the first flight that left Fargo to take WW2 veterans to Washington, one of the elderly veterans who was interviewed at the Fargo airport was Bernard Hilgers. I was stunned to hear his name; he used to visit my parents when he was home on leave during WW2 and I remember that my parents talked about and prayed for their friend Bernard, who served in the Aleutian Islands front. How many times was such a story played out? The young men went all over the world to defend our democracy and the folks at home did their part by joining homefront war support efforts and praying constantly for those who were serving in so many places. My mother worked every week in a Red Cross program to support the troops; our class of first graders collected milkweed "silk" to be used in making parachutes; everyone willingly conserved on the rationed items so that the troops could have more of what they needed. Scrap iron drives brought in tons of the needed metals for the war effort. Many "Rosies" (the Riveter) went to work in what were called by us at the time, "the war plants". My aunt worked in one in New Brighton, MN. Two of our uncles moved to the West Coast to work in factories that built things that were for the troops. My father in law was drafted at an age beyond draftable men because he was a US postal employee and they needed postal employees to sort out the backlog of mail for the soldiers in a huge terminal in Seattle. My husband’s family moved to the Seattle area for a year of uprooting to serve on the homefront, in a way.
The World War veterans are finally being honored as they should be….with their own memorial built among those already honoring Vietnam veterans and Korean War Veterans. It is a remarkable testimony to the WW2 vets, being of a generation that did not demand anything for themselves when they came home. They did their best to "get back to business" and serve once again in the frontlines of civilians who built up our nation in the 1940′s. 50′s and 60′s. Many of them suffered from their war experiences but they carried on in spite of the horrors they carried in their memories…and many in their bodies as scars, pieces of shrapnel, and the worst possible scenario–the loss of limbs or vision or other catastrophic injuries. Every generation that goes to war suffers these things. The WW 2 vets are elderly men and women now. Their generation is dying at a high rate every day.
I am so proud of those I know who served in that war; I am so proud of our area for participating in this noble "Honor Flight" projects. All of us can give more to these men and women who saved our nation from falling into a disastrous defeat that would have changed our lives forever, no doubt.
I need to immediately give another donation so that more of these "greatest" generation members can see their memorial in Washington DC. I hope a lot of you will do the same as soon as it is possible!!