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updated: 5/27/2013 7:06 AM

Just say 'thank you' to a veteran today

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Each week approximately 1,000 World War II veterans will die. Just look in your local papers for obituaries with a small American flag in the corner. Following are examples over just the last few months, most of these Vets are from the Fox Valley.

Jack, 88, survived 29 missions in a B-17 over Germany. Anthony, 94, served with the 1st Armored Division in North Africa. Gerald, 94, landed in Normandy in 1944 with the 3rd Armored Division. Albert, 83, served with the 101st Airborne division in Korea. Joseph, 98, served under General Patton. James, 73, U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran. Jack, 91, pilot with the "Flying Tigers" in Burma, recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart.

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Stan, 91, served in Italy. Jack, 90, with the 71st Infantry Division, was recipient of two Purple Hearts and the Silver Star. Mildred Manning, 98, Army nurse and last surviving female POW of World War II, was captured on Corregidor and held for four years. Mitsuo Kodama, 94, and Kenji Hino, 97, Japanese Americans who volunteered to fight for America in Europe, served with honor with the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Tom Griffin, 96, navigator on a B-25 Bomber of the Doolittle Raiders who launched a daring attack on Japan four months after Pearl Harbor. The list goes on each day in every paper across the country.

Each obituary details an individual Veteran's unique service and experiences, but when woven together they tell a common patriotic story of sacrifice, bravery, and duty. We walk by these military veterans every day. If you know one, then shake their hand this Memorial Day and simply say, "thank you" for our liberty and freedom. That is all these unassuming patriots ask in return for their service. a service of courage and honor.

Steve Thompson

South Elgin

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