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U.S. Department of Defense Header Image (click to return to U.S. Department of Defense homepage) Department of Homeland Security Terror Alert Notice
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A TIME TO REFLECT – The newly opened World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated May 29. It honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the United States during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort from home. In creating this photo illustration of the memorial, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell said she wanted to contrast the black and white photographic images of that era with the colorful reflections told by veterans of the "greatest generation." Defense Department photo illustration by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell
World War II Army nurse, Marian R. Elcano, 83, said the German “screaming mee-mies” buzz bombs made a terrible noise as they were coming down. Photo by Rudi Williams
Nurse Recalls D-Day-Plus Experiences
By Rudi Williams / American Forces Press Service
     WASHINGTON, June 3, 2004 — World War II nurse Marian R. Elcano didn't know what lay ahead when she signed up for a one-year stint in the Army Nurse Corps on June 26, 1943, at the age of 22.
      "Then they said the war was expanding, so your time was indefinite and you couldn't get out in a year," she said. And just about a year later, the World War II nurse would land on the beaches of France in the days following D-Day to treat the wounded. 
     Elcado was first assigned to Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., then transferred to Camp Gordon, Ga., where she joined the 45th Evacuation Hospital.
     The hospital had about 40 doctors, 40 nurses and about 200 enlisted men. It was a mobile medical facility set up in tent groups that followed the troops as they advanced across the battlefield.  More
National World War II Memorial Dedication Robert Dornblaser of Lander, Wyo., in his Purple Heart hat and jacket, reflects on his service with the National Guard's 32nd Infantry Division in the Pacific Theater the Sunday after the National World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington on May 29.
By Master Sgt. Bob Haskell / National Guard Bureau
     WASHINGTON — Three men who are pushing 80 or who have already passed that milestone of longevity and who were soldierly trim on Memorial Day weekend represented the way that young men served and fought in 19 National Guard infantry divisions during World War II.
      They were present and accounted for, with tens of thousands of comrades in arms from their youth and other members of the “greatest generation,” during the dedication of the National World War II Memorial on sunny, somber May 29.
     David Mealor, 81, of Newnan, Ga., recalled enlisting in the Guard’s 31st Division in November 1940 after being told he would be able to go home after training for a year and that he would not be drafted. More
World War II veteran Dr. Warburton Miller said his wartime experiences changed his life forever. A retired Navy Reserve captain, he also said the Navy was good to him and for him. Photo by Rudi Williams
WW II Vet Recalls
Battles in Pacific, First Use of Radar
By Rudi Williams / American Forces Press Service

     WASHINGTON, May 31, 2004 – With the dedication of the National World War II Memorial here, the Memorial Day weekend has brought much overdue attention to the men and women whose efforts helped to win the war in two theaters of combat.
     Warburton Miller was revved up to help win the war in the Pacific during World War II, but when he read newspaper accounts he didn't know if he'd get the chance. "I was scared to death the war was going to be over before I got out there to fight," the 82-year-old retired Naval Reserve captain said.
     But it was a different story when he got there. The United States was a long way from winning, and the war was a long way from being over, he said.

World War II Vet Fred Garrison Says
'War is Hell,' But Sometimes Necessary
Although "The Greatest Generation" is described as "aging," World War II veteran Fred Garrison, 81, doesn't see himself that way at all. But he is well aware that the world is losing about 1,100 of his comrades in arms every day. "I'm 81 years young – thank God I'm still alive!" he said. AFPS photo by Rudi Williams
By Rudi Wiliams / American Forces Press Service

     WASHINGTON, May 30, 2004 – "Any person who says they wasn't scared in combat, they're a … liar!" exclaimed World War II veteran Fred Garrison of Harford County, Md. "I was so scared one time I think smoked a pack of cigarettes in five minutes. I thought I was going to die, but I made it."
     Now a pipe smoker, Garrison was decked out in his World War II uniform on the National Mall where the largest gathering of World War II veterans since 1945 mustered for the dedication of a memorial in their honor May 29.
     The Mall was awash in patriotism, and tens of thousands of spectators and proud veterans like Garrison, who spent most of his war time with the 551st Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, keeping all eyes peeled for the German air force. Story

World War II factory worker Thelma Snyder poses with her daughter, Linda Denney, in front of one of the National Women's History Museum exhibits at the Women in Military Service to America Memorial in Arlington, Va. Photo by Rudi Williams
Civilian Women Played Major Role in World War II
By Rudi Williams / American Forces Press Service

     WASHINGTON, May 30, 2004 – No one knows what the outcome of World War II would have been if more than 18 million women hadn't worked in home-front defense industries to free men for overseas battlefields and to keep the nation running.
     World War II factory worker Thelma M. Snyder believes the war would not have been won without the help of millions of women on the home front. And she's right, according to historians.
     Women across America – Snyder, a former country schoolteacher among them – gave up their jobs to work in the defense industry, performing jobs previously reserved for men.

Coast Guardsman More Than Witness at Iwo Jima
Robert L. Resnick, 82, a Coast Guard veteran and quartermaster on LST -758. Courtesy photo
By PA2 Judy L. Silverstein / Seventh District Public Affairs team

Robert L. Resnick, 82, a Coast Guard veteran and quartermaster on LST -758. Courtesy photo     BOCA RATON, Fla. – In the shadow of Mt,. Suribaichi, a young quartermaster patrols the deck of LST-758. The year is 1945. Naval guns thunder and the buzz of bullets punctuate the air as a bloody battles rages on Iwo Jima.
     "Men were dying by the score. I watched it in utter sadness and terror for them, “ said Robert L. Resnick, 82, a Coast Guard veteran and quartermaster on LST -758, beached off the island that historic day. “I thought what a horrible thing is happening. I was an eyewitness to the sad, horrible day," he said.
     "It was a slaughter, a horrible thing right on the beach.”
     It was a day that has become the key symbol of the Marine Corps. Resnick was much more than a witness. Shortly after the tide turned in that bloody battle, he provided the stars and stripes and staff that enabled U.S. Marines to plant the American flag on the island, a moment captured on film and relived for generations to come.

Inspiring Words Grace
World War II Memorial Walls
By Rudi Williams / American Forces Press Service
A D-Day, June 6, 1944, remark by Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who later was elected president of the United States. Photo by Rudi Williams

      WASHINGTON, May 28, 2004 – Inspirational tributes and poignant quotations from famous, important military and civilian figures are inscribed into the walls around the National World War II Memorial.
     The memorial's announcement stone reads, "Here in the presence of Washington and Lincoln, one the 18th century father and the other the 19th century preserver of our nation, we honor those 20th century Americans who took up the struggle during the Second World War and made the sacrifices to perpetuate the gift our forefathers entrusted to us: a nation conceived in liberty and justice." Story

WWII Memorial Sculpture
Panels Depict Contributions
By Rudi Williams / American Forces Press Service
One of 12 Pacific front sculptured panels at the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., depicts the Navy in action. Photo by Rudi Williams
     WASHINGTON, May 28, 2004 – The National World War II Memorial features a series of 24 sculpture panels on its ceremonial entrance walls.
      Twelve panels each depict the Atlantic and Pacific war fronts.
     Each bronze panel is a raised, sculptured image, most based on historical photos. Created by sculptor Ray Kaskey, the panels represent the country's transformation into the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
     American Battle Monuments Commission officials said the panels depict the all- out mobilization of America's agricultural, industrial, military and human resources that transformed the country into the arsenal of democracy as well as the breadbasket of the world. Story
The Commemorative Area of the National World War II Memorial recognizes the sacrifice of America's "greatest generation" and the contribution of our allies. A field of 4,000 sculpted gold stars on the Freedom Wall commemorates the more than 400,000 Americans who gave their lives, and symbolized the sacrifice of families across the nation. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain
Memorial Day Activities Honor World War II Veterans, Families
By Karla L. Gonzalez / Army News Service
     WASHINGTON, May 24, 2004 – Nearly 60 years after they fought oversees, veterans of the Second World War and their contributions will be honored in the nation’s capital over the Memorial Day weekend. 
     The Soldiers' Chorus with the Armed Forces Chorus and Marine Orchestra will perform at the National World War II Memorial dedication ceremony May 29. Performances begin at 10 a.m. with the dedication ceremony at noon at the memorial. The chorus will perform a mix of patriotic music and hymns.
Memorial Deserves Location
By Jim Garamone / American Forces Press Service
     WASHINGTON, May 26, 2004 – When organizers first proposed placing the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall, critics complained.
     They said the memorial would spoil the ambience of the National Mall.
     Proponents of the memorial countered that the site - between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument - emphasized the crucial role World War II has had in shaping the United States and the world. It's hard to argue with their logic.
     World War II was as central to the 20th century as the American Civil War was to the 19th. We continue to be affected by that global conflict as we proceed through the 21st century.
     The proponents fortunately won that argument, and the monument on the National Mall will be dedicated May 29. Story
Stars & Stripes Offers
Guide for World War II Reunion
American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON, May 26, 2004 – The military's Stars and Stripes newspaper, in partnership with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the American Battle Monuments Commission, has produced a guide and commemorative program for the National World War II Reunion to be held on the National Mall here May 27 to 30.
     The program - "Tribute to a Generation" - includes a special events map and agenda; historic Stars and Stripes photos, Bill Mauldin cartoons and newspaper covers; as well as special tributes from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi, District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lawrence M. Small and Stars and Stripes Publisher Thomas E. Kelsch.
In addition to providing the commemorative program, Stars and Stripes also has arranged for several World War II veterans of the newspaper and Yank magazine to speak on May 30. Story

SHARING STORIES — Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Corey Lewis, a photographer's mate, poses with World War II veteran Stephen E. Kanyusik at the Navy's Battle of Midway Memorial Ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, May 28, 2004. Kanyusik joined the Navy in 1942, and served as a photographer's mate onboard the USS Ranger. The two photographers met and shared stories at the ceremony which drew hundreds of Navy veterans in town for the dedication of the World War II Memorial May 29. Defense Dept. photo by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell
Army Reservist Says Memorial
'One of Best on National Mall'
By Rudi Williams / American Forces Press Service
     WASHINGTON, May 25, 2004 – The sad thing about the official dedication of the long-awaited tribute to "the greatest generation" on May 29 is that "a lot of veterans won't be able to see this memorial," Roderick "Rod" V. Bell, the assistant project manager of the World War II Memorial, said in an American Forces Press Service interview.
     More than a thousand World War II veterans die every day," said the 31-year-old construction engineer, who earned a bachelor's degree in that field at Norfolk State University in 1996. But at least, he said, many now-deceased veterans of the war knew they were being honored at last. "Some of them saw the memorial as we constructed it before they passed," Bell said.
    "This weekend - Memorial Day weekend -- is going to mark a great event," said Bell, a first lieutenant in the Army Reserve's 3rd Battalion, 111th Air Defense Artillery.
HONORING THE FALLEN — Army Lt. Gen. William E. Ward, U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army deputy commanding general, and Army 2nd Lt. Lashonda White lay a wreath at the newly dedicated monument to African-American World War II soldiers in Wereth, Belgium, May 23, 2004. The monument is located on the site where 11 African-American soldiers were massacred by German SS soldiers on Dec. 11, 1944. The monument is currently the only one dedicated to African-American World War II soldiers. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joe Battle
Pvt. Eddie Hart, a farmer from North Carolina, after being drafted in 1944. Courtesy photo
Siblings Adopt Grave of World War II Veteran
By K.L. Vantran / American Forces Press Service

     WASHINGTON – They never met him. But, for more than five decades, a sister and brother in Meersen, Holland, have painstakingly tended the grave of a young American who died defending democracy in Nazi Germany.
     Thank You, Eddie Hart," a documentary airing in May on American Public Television, tells the story of honoring those who died for others' freedom.
     Shortly before World War II ended, the Dutch people donated more than 60 acres in Margraten to the United States for the Netherlands American Cemetery, a military cemetery for Americans who died in the war. The Dutch citizens also established an adoption program. Each Dutch family made a promise to contact the soldier's family, visit the grave several times a year and refresh the flowers on a continuing basis. All of the more than 18,000 graves were adopted.
     In 1946, 22-year-old Betty Habets-Vrancken adopted the grave of Pvt. Eddie Hart, a soldier from North Carolina.
     She wrote to Hart's sister Hattie. "Dear Miss Hart," the letter said, "I am a Dutch girl and I live in the south part of Holland. I guess you know that there is buried your older brother Eddie and I have adopted his grave. I hope, dear Miss Hart, that this will be a little better for you to know that your brother's grave is not lonely and forgotten." Story

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12/06/2005, Eastern Daylight Time
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