"At every juncture of my life, I’ve thought about the sacrifices that were made. They (the ones who died in the fighting) never saw a son in his Little League game. They never saw a daughter at her dance revue. They never saw a child graduate from high school," Alton Cadenhead said. "When I walked down the aisle with my daughter on her wedding day, I cried. Not for my daughter, but because those that didn’t make it back never had that honor. I know you say it’s been 65 years, but I don’t think the value of those people to those of us who are still here will ever diminish."
For those who were lucky enough to make it home safely, the experiences they had and the living conditions they saw overseas made a lasting impression.
"I felt like it didn’t only teach me to appreciate what I had in the states, even though I was raised in a mill village and worked in a textiles plant," Clarence Peace said, " but I saw things in other countries that were terrible, considering what we had here."
Every veteran talked about the big difference they felt in themselves from when the war started to when they returned home.
"Just being a regular serviceman overseas, we knew we were in harm’s way every day," Bob Bennett said.
Bill Fricks added, "When the war ended, we were no longer teenagers. It made me more mature. I looked at life and realized how precious it is, and I think that has given me the ability to handle things."
"You saw others dead or dying and you thought that could very well be me or my friend instead of somebody else," George Slickman said. "Circumstances just happened to be such that it wasn’t you, and it makes you very grateful for what life you’ve had."
The vets also had a few words of advice for the current generation.
"I’m proud to be an American, but looking around and everything happening now, makes me wonder," Slickman said.
"Negativism is pretty horrible; it will eat you up," Harold Storey said. "Criticism towards other people has the intent to destroy, but it destroys the one who does the criticizing."
Looking back on it all and looking ahead, Storey hopes everyone can learn from his experiences.
"If I put enough of my war memories together, I can cry about them. But I cry more for where we’ve come. I’m super-patriotic, and I believe we’re a much better country than some of the things we’ve done. It just seems like, doggone it, we haven’t learned a whole lot," he said. "The country needs to remind us that we’re not going to work out our problems by carping at each other."