10/26/2014

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Idaho State Veteran’s Home WWII veterans' remember D-Day

Idaho State Veteran’s Home WWII veterans' remember D-Day
LEWISTON, ID - 70 years ago today (Friday) more than 160,000 allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to fight Nazi Germany.

This special anniversary serves not only as a time to reflect on the thousands who paid the ultimate sacrifice, but also to keep the stories of those who served alive.

Before the invasion 70-years ago today, General Dwight D. Isenhower said, "The tide has turned, the free men of the world are marching together, we will accept nothing less than full victory..so good luck." However victory did come at a price.

"In the company I was in we lost two guys," said WWII Veteran-POW Elton Ankney. "Well it's not nice but two I figure we get off pretty easy."

"I was a prisoner of war in Germany, our rooms were crowded no showers. You took a bath in your helmet, and cold water."

More than 400-thousand U.S. military lives were lost in WWII, D-Day itself being one of the deadliest days ever for Americans in battle. But despite all of this both military men said they would serve again.

"I think it was necessary anytime they're messing with your freedom it's necessary," said Ankney.

"If I didn't get shot up I would have stayed in the army I liked it," said Rolf. "Kill somebody that tried to kill you."

Old age is now the relentless enemy for World War II vets. According to the National World War II Museum less than one-million veterans still survive. 21 of which live right here in the Idaho State Veterans Home."

It has been decreasing, when we open 20-years ago it was predominantly WWII veterans. We had three to five WWI veterans

But as time moves on, memories fade- stories of love, sorrow and heroism often times unheard.

It's the generation of gentleman. Their why we are where we are today. And even if they are not talking about their history, they went through so many things that will never dream of.

And as quickly as one soldiers passes on, another is born, and willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

"When we were in the army, it's two different stories entirely," said Rolf.

"We could tell our enemy's but now days it may be your next door neighbor," said Ankney.

But regardless of that the job needs to get done.

"They want in god we trust off the money, they want to change this and that," said Ankney. "That's what this country was built on and we need to keep it that way."

The Idaho Veteran's Home is always looking for volunteers. If you're interested, call Volunteer Coordinator Terry Brockman at (208) 750-3971.
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