Memorial Day For 100-Year-Old Veterans

Our WWII Veterans fought so that their great-grandchildren could live in America with choices today.
Our WWII Veterans fought so that their great-grandchildren could live in America with choices today. | Source

Centenarians and World War II

The US Military planned and fought seventeen total campaigns in the Pacific Theater of World War Two. For many who might not know all of these ventures, they includes islands in Alaska, Burma, parts of China, Burma, New Guinea, and several other locations besides Japan.

Although the 70th, Platinum Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack was the last to gather and openly and formally celebrate its Veterans, several of these men and women are still living in 2015. Some of them are over 100 years old!

The volunteers at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio at Wright Patterson AFB are nearly all older senior citizens. Most are veterans of the Korean War and Viet Nam, but a handful are in their late 80s and 90s, from World War II.. They still tell the stories of their wartime experiences and enjoy describing the related exhibits in the museum and the Presidential and Experimental annex. Memorial Day is a special time at the National Museum, especially in the year 2015, since May 8 was the 70th anniversary of the European Victory.

National Museum of the Air Force

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A casing exactly like that for the "Little Boy" nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.A fourth building will be opening soon.Uniforms from 1907 - Present
A casing exactly like that for the "Little Boy" nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
A casing exactly like that for the "Little Boy" nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. | Source
A fourth building will be opening soon.
A fourth building will be opening soon.
Uniforms from 1907 - Present
Uniforms from 1907 - Present | Source

I first visited the USAF museum in 1963 as a child. In additional, I became involved in a Project Bluebook correspondence with Donald Keyhoe by an assignment given by my schoolteacher. That assignment has led to a lifetime of gathering astounding information.

I learn more about UFOs and WWII technologies on every visit to thie grand museum in my state, part of the Aviation Heritage Trail of the US. A quonset hut/hangar type fourth building is opening in later 2015. On my first visit, the museum was one small building.

If you have not yet seen the film "Unbroken", it is the jaw dropping true story of a US serviceman and former Olympics Gold Medalist, held captive in Japan. He was one of the fortunate who survived torture to see VJ Day and incoming American planes dropping canned foods to the newly freed, but starving prisoners.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia
Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia | Source

A 109-Year-Old Veteran in Texas

The US Department of Veterans Affairs lists a total of 1.02 million living WWII veterans at this writing.

No listing furnishes all of these veteran's names, except for short lists of individuals who have reported in to various agencies and websites. The median age of WWII veterans was 92 in the year 2011. We should not forget these people who served the country and its people.

The oldest living veteran today is a resident of East Austin, Texas and is 109 years old. Richard A. Overton wears glasses, uses a can occasionally, but does not need any other type of mobility device. He likes to be photographed with his rifle and with a cigar in his mouth.

Sgt. Overton at 109

1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion

Sgt. Overton served in the South Pacific (as opposed to the North or Central regions) from 1942 through 1945 in the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion (Colored) during segregated years. The Engineer Aviation Battalions were specialized battalions of the Army Corps of Engineers that were assigned to the US Army Air Corps before the founding of the USAF. These men built air fields in deserts, in jungles, and even on coral islands in the Pacific Theater.

During May 2013, Sgt. Overton flew for the first time to Washington, DC in order to see the nation's WWII Memorial. He was aided by Honor Flight, the group that arranges and US Veterans to war monuments free-of-charge.

This Memorial Day, think about visiting the memorials and monuments in your town. Take a senior citizen with you.

Engineer Aviation Battalion exhibit near the Curtiss C-46D in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Engineer Aviation Battalion exhibit near the Curtiss C-46D in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. | Source

You got to keep moving. You don't sit down and watch TV all the time. You have to keep moving. -- Richard A. Overton

— www.dailymail.co.uk; May 25, 2013

Overton and History

Sgt. Overton's great-grandfather was a judge on the Superior Court of Tennessee and served as an advisor to President Andrew Jackson. John Overton (1766 - 1833) lived in Nashville at his home and plantationcalled Traveller's Rest. It is a visitor's attraction now that I have seen several times.

John Overton's great-grandfather was Robert Overton (1609 - 1678), a major-general in the English Civil War on the side of the RoundHeads.

The plantation house of John Overton (1766 - 1833)
The plantation house of John Overton (1766 - 1833) | Source

East Austin, Texas

A markerEast Austin, Texas -
East Austin, Austin, TX, USA
[get directions]

The State of Texas is home to 88,540+ living veterans of all wars and conflicts that are ages 85 and older. Some served in all of WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam.

*

In Sgt. Overton's home county, Bastrop, living veterans include 8,000 individuals of all ages; out of a total of 75,000+ residents, or about 11% of the population.

The Pacific Theater: Hiroshima

Children from all over the world send paper cranes to Hiroshima for healing, even in the 2010s.
Children from all over the world send paper cranes to Hiroshima for healing, even in the 2010s. | Source

The Pacific Theater of World War II

Click thumbnail to view full-size
USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor Memorial, HawaiiWreck of the Japanese transport Yamazuki Maru on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, in 1944. Iwo JimaAleutian IslandsBurmaPeace Memorial in Hiroshima - a bombed building. Hiroshima water gateA student visits the ruins of Nagasaki today.North Solomon Islands, PapuaThe Philippines
USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor Memorial, Hawaii
USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor Memorial, Hawaii | Source
Wreck of the Japanese transport Yamazuki Maru on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, in 1944.
Wreck of the Japanese transport Yamazuki Maru on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, in 1944.
Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima
Aleutian Islands
Aleutian Islands
Burma
Burma
Peace Memorial in Hiroshima - a bombed building.
Peace Memorial in Hiroshima - a bombed building.
 Hiroshima water gate
Hiroshima water gate
A student visits the ruins of Nagasaki today.
A student visits the ruins of Nagasaki today.
North Solomon Islands, Papua
North Solomon Islands, Papua
The Philippines
The Philippines

© 2015 Patty Inglish

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8 comments

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 19 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Richard A. Overton seems to be truly rewarded for his Service. Veterans deserve more than they reveive from the country. Many people now realise that. I was asked if I was a veteran, while in a line at a P.O. recently. And was thanked for my service. Interesting to me, because it was quite a while ago that I served.


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 19 months ago from Lincolnshire, England

Shared and pinned.

Very informative and shall take a look at ' Unbroken ' to become educated about this hero Louis Zamperini.

Thank you for the potted history and a pleasant afternoon to you.

Kind Regards;

R.Q.


John Dean, VA Admin. OH 19 months ago

We hope everyone will gather at their local memorials for ceremonies and celebrations with the US Veterans of their communities this Memorial Day. Let's remember active and reserve military service people and all of our allies as well. Let's show them we are grateful to them.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 19 months ago from southern USA

Oh, Patty, this is such a wonderful hub here in tribute to our 100 year old veterans! I've seen that movie, Unbroken, and it is jaw-dropping as you state. I found it fascinating that he returned to Japan to tell his torturer he forgave him, but he was not able to find him.

Thank you for sharing too of your personal experiences. It is all so very interesting.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

God bless our veterans


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 19 months ago from North America Author

@mckbirdbks - Thank you for your military service! It seems that people are seeking out veterans to thank in some places. I've known several vets who have suffered far too much and too long in receiving medical treatment and some, their disability income. One good friend fought for 20 years for his income and after receiving it, lived just two additional years. He enjoyed a new car once in his life - for a year before he passed on.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

Many of them are just now getting the everyday recognition they deserve. It's never too late to give them thanks, whether they are as senior as Richard A. Overton or not quite. My grandfather is 85 and dedicated a career to the military. He is legally blind now and a very humble man of few words. We are proud of his service.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 18 months ago from North America Author

@FlourishAnyway - I agree with what you say and remember when younger people viewed the Tom Hanks-Matt Damon movie "Saving Private Ryan" - the people cried as they sought out veterans of WWII and in the audience and the lobby to thank them. This included teenagers to middle aged people in tears. Our service people have been ignored or taken fro granted too long. Thak you for remembering them and sharing your dad's life with us.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Fascinating hub.

We still remember that the only reason Australia and New Zealand don't speak Japanese is the 1st US Marine division.

When Japan declared war they requested Britain return the hundred thousand troops they'd sent to the Middle East. Britain refused but the US mobilised the Marines who were sent to the Battle of the coral sea that stopped the japanese.

Australia and New Zealand don't always agree with America but they'll never forget who came when they needed help

Blessings

Lawrence

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