The thread with the D-Day pictures made me think of this. Rather than hijack that thread, I'll start a new one. So, the topic, and then some background: Does anyone have a still living relative or friend who served in WWII, and if so, what have they told you about their experiences? My only close relative to have served was an uncle who passed away about 25 years ago, when the idea of a world war was not nearly as obscure as it is now, and the vets of that war were not considered a disappearing treasure. I never talked to him about the war, but I wish I had. I did read a newspaper interview he once did. He was a Marine, and was wounded on either Saipan or Tarawa, I can't remember which. He talked about the alarm in your head that never really turns off in combat, the one that once woke him from a sound sleep to find a jap bayonet pointed at his face. He grabbed the bayonet and knocked the man off balance, and another Marine shot him. I was around 20 when he died, older than he was when he served. I often think back to that age, what my own level of maturity was like, and would love to ask him how he found the inner courage to do the things you have to do in combat. There's an old man that occasionally does contract electrical work for my TV station. In the station's younger days, he also did some camera work on my crew, and I'd often get exasperated with him because he'd lose focus, or ruin a good shot by making a move I hadn't called for. I'm not the stereotypical yelling director, but he could bring it out in me. Because I didn't work with him very often, I never really talked in-depth with him, just normal day-to-day pleasantries. A few years ago, I was shocked and ashamed to learn that this sweet, old guy who I would tear into for those silly mistakes was a genuine American hero. He dropped out of high school on his 17th birthday and joined the Corps, and was in the first wave to struggle ashore at Iwo Jima. Saw the flagraising with his own eyes, and was wounded on the 16th day of the campaign in a famous incident in which the Japs blew up a supply cache' to keep it from falling into USMC hands. The local Marine Corps League was raising money to send him back to Iwo for the 60th anniversary. He gave me a fantastic interview, talking about how the porous volcanic ash that covered the island made every step a chore. How they had to slog through that stuff while fighting an enemy that was so well dug in, it was like they were fighting the island itself. He also told me that it was only recently (this would have been 2005) that he began telling his own children about his experiences. The doc at the VA hospital urged him to open up to them, saying that many vets were beginning to develop psychological issues from decades of keeping those terrible experiences to themselves. Since then, I've heard my friend tell audiences at Veteran's Day celebrations to talk to the veterans they know, and even to record their stories. They need to talk, and to hear their experiences keeps a cherished commodity in our nation from never being forgotten.