VJ Day
Source: Screenshot, YouTube - https://youtu.be/mDao1oty9Kg

On September 2nd, 1945, on the deck of the USS Missouri, the Empire of Japan formally signed their unconditional surrender to America and allied forces – ending World War II in the Pacific and ending the war in general.

It was a bloody, nearly five years that had taken millions of lives and ravaged most of East Asia, and it all came to end as Douglas MacArthur watched the Japanese sign the “instrument of surrender.

It has been 77 years since, and I want to take a look back at those who fought on behalf of freedom in World War II. 

How Many World War II Veterans Are Left? 

According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, there are approximately 240,000 World War II veterans left alive in the United States, with an average of 245 dying each day. Most of these men and women are in their 90s, so time is running out for many. 

Last Surviving Veterans

Among the notable World War II veterans who were the last surviving participants in divisions or major events include: 

Bud Anderson, who is America’s last surviving triple ace. A triple ace indicates he shot down at least 15 confirmed aircraft. He was also the highest ace who flew the P-51 Mustang.

Anderson served 30 years in the Army and Air Force, flying in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He logged flights in 100 unique aircraft and flew over 7,000 hours.

His Mustang was nicknamed Old Crow.

Marine Chester Nez was the last surviving Navajo Codetalker, passing away in 2014 at the age of 93.

Henry Parham, who died in 2014 at the age of 99, was the last surviving African-American veteran of the Normandy Invasion. In 2013, he was awarded the Legion of Honor by France.

Louis Graziano is the last surviving witness of the German surrender at the end of World War II. He celebrated his 99th birthday this past February.

Share your thoughts and memories of our great veterans in the comments below.

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