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World War II vets deserve thanks

Published 9:11pm Thursday, December 6, 2012

Today’s date of eternal infamy — Dec. 7, 1941 — cannot go by without recognizing in some way the contributions of World War II veterans.

Many still remember vividly the radio announcement of the sneak attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Several ships were destroyed, and more than 2,000 Americans were killed.

The next day, America joined the fight against the Axis powers, which were eventually defeated in 1945.

Among those who remember the call to duty vividly are Herbert Horst and Fred Appleton, who are featured in today’s edition. Both joined the war effort after the attack and served in the Pacific Theater, participating in an island-hopping march across the ocean by the Allied forces that culminated in war-ending bombs dropped on Japan.

Today’s generations need only think back to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to get an idea of what America experienced 71 years ago.

At the time of the attack, the American military boasted more than one million brave souls who had joined during World War I, during the time of peace in between the wars or in the tense months before it became obvious America would have to enter the war.

After the attack, many more, such as Horst and Appleton, would sign up voluntarily, and many others answered the call of the draft.

Whether or not those service members were actually at Pearl Harbor on that horrible day is not crucial. The most important fact is that one way or another, these people put their lives on the line to defend their country, freedom and families.

When you see veterans and active duty military, whether they served in World War II or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or any time in between, remember to thank them for their service. It’s the least we can do for those who were willing to give so much.

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