On this Veterans Day, Fox 26 wanted to pay tribute to the men and women who powered this country during World War 2.
In the 1940's, the were sons and daughters. More than 16 million served during World War 2. Today, they are our fathers and mothers, our grandparents and great grandparents and estimates show fewer than 1.5 million are still alive. As a child, I always loved a particular photo of my maternal grandfather and his war buddies. I always wondered about those five other men in the picture.
My grandfather, a World War 2 veteran, died before I was born, before I could ask him about the man driving the jeep or the guy laying on top of it. Before I could ask him anything about the war that killed nearly 300 thousand American service members- including Marvin Murray Stallings on D-Day and Pete Stallings during Pearl Harbor.
Margaret Stallings James shared several pictures of her family on our Fox 26 Facebook page.
All of them- Billy Wayne, Earl, George, John and Willie, Margaret's father- fought in World War 2.
As did a man we met last month during a visit to the V-A hospital.
"I have three children," he said. "They never ask me any questions. I just never did like to say anything to them about it."
On the day of our visit- he sat with a small group of friends, at fairly empty tables, in a fairly empty room inside the hospital.
But it wasn't always that way.
The men in the room were either World War 2 or Korean War veterans. They were also former prisoners of war.
When the V-A started hosting the support group years ago, the place was packed.
"I've been coming here for a long time," our veteran said. "I just like the guys. I like to be around them."
But these particular vets are aging.
In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimated 850 were dying everyday.
That was three years ago.
Based on that figure, fewer than 1.5 million World War Two vets are still alive.
That's why there were fewer tables and so many empty seats in the room that day.
"There's not too many more World War 2's left," our veteran said."
And that's why we asked you share your photos of your friends and family with us here at Fox 26.
So we could say thank you to 93 year old Gilbert Ontiveros and 92 year old M.J. Curtis of Friendswood.
Its been nearly seven decades since World War 2 ended. The battle equipment, guns and vehicles have changed.
Uniforms have also changed, along with technology.
Remember our P-O-W?
Listen to what happened after his rescue.
"Somewhere around the first of July, I made it home" he said. "No one knew (I had been rescued and) I was coming. I was at home. They gave me three month recooperation leave. I was at home about two weeks and (a delivery arrived). It was that telegram (notifying his family of his rescue). I done beat it home by two weeks."
And we're glad you did, sir.
Thank you for your service.