Monday, June 9, 2014

World War II Veterans Disappearing

I made brief reference to this on D-Day, but the World War II generation is rapidly shrinking:
As Bruce Drake points out over at the Pew Research Center, only 1 million World War II veterans are still alive to witness the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy that precipitated the end of the war. That's a fraction of the 10.7 million who marked the anniversary in 1984. And it's a solemn reminder that their ranks will soon disappear. As The Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb notes, few veterans are expected to live to see the 75th anniversary.
"By the next decennial anniversary," Drake writes, "the VA estimates that their numbers will be down to 81,117."
That VA data gathered by the National World War II Museum suggests that America is losing 555 World War II veterans a day. By 2027, that number will be down to 35 a day. By 2034, it will be down to two per day. Below are the full projections for America's veterans:
That saddens me.  We are losing a link to our history, and to a world that those of us who didn't live in it can not understand and fully appreciate.  My grandpa is the oldest family member I have, and he was born after the bottom of the Great Depression (1934).  He was 10 years old when the D-Day landings took place. He is a valuable guide to the past, but even he doesn't have a lot of knowledge of the Great Depression and World War II.  And while he should have a number of years remaining on this mundane sphere, there is a time in the not-too-distant future when he won't be here to tell us about his life and times.

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