They are called "The Greatest Generation" and they are dying at a rate of 1,000 per day. There are ten remaining WWII veterans of the Wiley B. Murray, American Legion Post left in San Saba. At the next meeting in March, these men will be recognized and honored for their efforts during the Second World War.
In the 1990 the Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA) began to develop plans to recognize these veterans. In 2000, after years of work and approval of the US Congress, the NCOA finally developed a new award to recognize the Veterans of WWII. The award is called the WORLD WAR II REMEMBRANCE MEDALLION.
The purpose of this award is to honor the remaining veterans in a public forum for their past service and sacrifices in defending the greatest country on earth. Only now do we appreciate the sacrifices they made along with those of their families. Today, there are approximately one million WWII veterans estimated to be living nationwide.
Approximately 16.5 million men and women served in the armed forces during the World War II period, (officially) September 16, 1940 through July 25, 1947. Although most had never left home, they served in our armed forces to do a job in places they couldn't even find on a map at the time.
These veterans represented one-third of the then male population 15 years and older. Among the more than 16 million WWII service men and women, 70% served in the Army (including Army Air Forces), 26% in the Navy, and 4% in the Marines. Approximately 73% of WWII military personnel served overseas.
Approximately 407,000 American service men and women died while in service during WWII, including 292,000 battle deaths and 115,000 other deaths. The total death number includes 79,000 who were lost in combat and never recovered. Another 672,000 suffered nonfatal wounds.
There were 464 WWII Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, of whom only 16 are alive today. Their branches of service were 286 Army, 82 Marine Corps, 57 Navy, 38 Army Air Corps, and one Coast Guard. There were 130,201 WWII POWs, of whom 14,072 died in the hands of the enemy.
The term "The Greatest Generation" was coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the generation who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II. The families they left behind contributed mightily to the productivity within the war's home front made a decisive material contribution to the war effort.
Perhaps it is difficult for people of today to realize but there was once a time in this country where patriotism was genuine and young people served their country without complaint. Some were drafted without fanfare while others enlisted. Only in recent years has their experiences been revealed.
The following veterans of the Wiley B. Murray Post No. 27 have been selected to receive the WORLD WAR II REMEMBRANCE MEDALLION on Thursday, March 10th, 2011; Brown, Ted Jr.; Harkey, James B.; Lewis, Robert H.; Lines, Richard W.; Lusty, James; Miller, Benton W. Sr.; Oswald, Johnnie C.; Price, William G.; Rogers, George M.; White, William B.
Next week their biographies.