NEWPORT CITY – Americans across the country took time to recognize World War II Veterans, also known as the Greatest Generation. Saturday, about a dozen area residents gathered in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Alfred Pepin Post #798 to honor the veterans from that era.
Holding such events is important so nobody forgets what happened on Dec. 7, 1941, said Floyd Ellis, post commander. “I was just a child at the time. I can just imagine what they went through.”
World War II veterans are rapidly dying and soon they will become a thing of the past, said Post Trustee Rick Kelley.
Roy Ellam, post senior vice-commander, said the veterans honored Saturday were involved in a historic event. Ellam said many soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“That’s pretty much what it’s all about,” said Ellam. Americans continue to honor the veterans even though many of them are no longer living. “Their sacrifices will be around forever. Our freedom pretty much all comes from their sacrifices.”
Dennis Beauchesne, quartermaster, called the gathering a great idea and said every post should do something to remember Pearl Harbor because there are few remaining survivors and because the attack happened on U.S. soil. Beauchesne said one of VFW’s bylaws is that the organization keeps the memory of the attack alive.
Eva Tabor, president of the ladies auxiliary, said it’s important to remember the veterans who were there when that attacks happened. Tabor also pointed out that the country is losing World War II veterans at a rapid rate.
“My life would have been a whole lot different if it wasn’t for these people,” she said. “We wouldn’t have the freedom we have today. We wouldn’t have the opportunities we have today.”
Helena Hicks of Newport City has vivid memories of the “Date which will live in Infamy.” Hicks said she was home watching television.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” she said. “I knew what the future, for many, would be like. I was terrified for the country, my husband and myself.”
Hicks’ husband, Earl Hicks, served in Gen. Patton’s Third Army and came home a disabled veteran.