WWII vet shares stories on Memorial Day

May 26, 2014 7:40 PM

At 91-years-old, John Paul Gentile still remembers many of the details surrounding his time fighting in the Second World War.

"I was in the particular group that brought the war to a close in central Germany at the Ruhr Valley," he said.

Serving in the Army, Gentile and his comrades went through good times, tough times, and the most triumphant of times.

"Something happened from heaven, and we lucked out, we got through, and we wiped their arses out, and we secured victory for America," said Gentile.

On Memorial Day, we gather to honor our fallen soldiers, and to remember the war through the eyes of those who are still with us.

Gentile's daughter Leslie Chamberlain grew up listening to those memories.

"It was a beautiful part of our life when he would share the history of the war, and the friends that he knew in the war that he served in, and who died in the war," she said.

The stories that these World War II veterans tell are becoming increasingly rare.

16 million Americans fought in the war, and according to the Department of Veteran Affairs, only about one million still survive.

"Most of our World War II veterans right now are in their late 80s, 88, 89, or in their 90s, so we're probably looking at about eight more years for our World War II vets to still be here with us," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Rob Burroughs, who founded the Northern California Veterans Museum.

The experiences of these veterans are woven into the history of our nation, and of our lives.

"I have a two and a half year old now, his grandson, and we tell him at two and a half the story of Papa and how he fought for our great country and what to be proud of," Chamberlain said.


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