Categorized | Opinion

Lost Treasure

By David Peel

As an injury attorney, I have been blessed to represent many veterans. Today, while you read this paper and go about your day, more than 700 World War II veterans will die. This happens every single day. The youngest are now in their mid-80s, and some have never talked about their experiences at all. This “Greatest Generation” that we are losing constitutes a lost treasure of stories, life and bravery.

Just 60 years ago, this heroic generation stood against the Germans and the Japanese, invaded the Philippines and Normandy, and they are the only reason you live in this free country.

The people in Germany, somewhat like the U.S. now, never thought that a regime that promised peace, promoted education and peace through gun control, would end in the Nazi’s extermination of six (6) million Jews. The empire of Japan thought they could take out our entire Pacific fleet in one well-coordinated strike, and almost succeeded.

Children of the Great Depression, this WWII Generation manned the tank and airplane factories, the atomic research facilities, the powder plants; and they had the work ethic, duty and commitment to supply an army that was ranked low in capability in the world to be the sole superpower. Many of our veterans have never told about their experiences.

I just helped take a group of Boy Scouts on a private tour of the Battleship USS Alabama in Mobile. There, we saw the inner workings of the immense guns that fired a 2700 shell over 21 miles, propelled with 500 pounds of powder.  That would be like shooting a Volkswagen bug from around Millington to Covington!  We were able to sleep on the bunks overnight and see the massive boilers, huge turbines and the anti-aircraft guns. We were able to talk with veterans who served in World War II.

Many of the Scout Dads had fathers who had fought in the War, and a majority had not talked much about the War before they died.

I encourage you strongly to talk with them and get their histories before they become one of the 700 that will pass away each day. They are a treasure that we are losing all too fast.

What about you? Do you know an aging veteran? Would you go this week and just sit and ask to listen? We are all busy, but we are often busy doing “good” things, and not the “best” things. If I told you there was lost treasure in your yard, you would make the time to start digging. There is lost treasure in our communities; they are there and many will be happy to talk with you about what occurred from 1941-1945. One more thing, bring your kids to hear, too.

From our home to yours, thank you, Veterans!

Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through wherein other articles may be accessed.

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January 2013
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