The Grundy County Veterans Historical Society held a luncheon on Friday, December 7 at the Coalmont Community Center to honor and thank our World War II Veterans. Since World War II Veterans are dwindling in numbers at an alarming rate and every opportunity to honor and thank these veterans should be taken. Their bravery, sense of patriotism and sacrifices are unsurpassed.
Tom Brokaw referred to this generation as “America’s Greatest Generation.” He wrote, “this generation was united not only by a common purpose, but also by common values – duty, honor, economy, courage, service, love of family and country, and, above all, responsibility for oneself.” In his book, he talks about people whose everyday lives reveal how a generation that persevered through war, and were trained by it, went on to live interesting and useful lives and create the America we have today.
World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history – the mightiest struggle humankind has ever seen. It killed more people, cost more money, damaged more property, affected more people, and caused more far-reaching changes in nearly every country than any other war in history. The number of people killed, wounded, or missing between September 1939 and September 1945 can never be accurately calculated, but it is estimated that between 60 and 78 million people perished and over 400,000 were American casualties.
More than 60 countries took part in this war, and the whole world felt its effects. Men fought in almost every part of the world, on every continent except Antarctica. Chief battlegrounds included Asia, Europe, North Africa, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea. Over 16 million Americans served our country in World War II and most servicemen spent almost a year and a half overseas while serving in this war of all wars.
Y.B. Ashby has been a driving force of veteran’s events in Grundy County for many years but was unable to attend due to illness. In his absence, Mr. Ray Winton, of the Grundy County Veterans Historical Society that sponsored the event, hosted the ceremony. Mr. Winton told of the debt of gratitude we owed these men who fought for the freedoms of this country. He reminded us that “freedom comes at a price” and that he hopes “future generations realize the enormous contribution these soldiers made for them.”
A wonderful home-cooked meal, beautifully prepared and served by volunteers from the community was enjoyed by all immediately following the ceremony. Please take every opportunity to say “thank you” to soldiers and veterans throughout this country, especially during the holiday season. Ladies and gentlemen of the military, past and present – we salute you!
The World War II Veterans attending a luncheon in their honor sponsored by the Grundy County Veterans Historical Society included (standing l to r): William R. Curtis, James Winton, Thomas Collins, L.H. Burnett and Marcus Hill, Jr.; (seated l to r): Clifford McCormick, Earl Rigsby, Charles (Frosty) Byers, Sr., Hershel Curtis and Carl W. Crisp. GCTV will begin televising these World War II veteran interviews on Thursday, December 13 at 4, 6, and 11. The complete video will be on the Grundy County Herald website in the very near future and will also be available for sale.