The Children of WWII Veterans Tell Stories

[May 16, 2022]  We rarely have the honor today of speaking with WWII veterans.  Nearly all have passed away, with only 240,000 still alive of the 16 million who served.  The War was the deadliest of all wars, lasting about six years and causing 70-85 million deaths worldwide.  It was the greatest generation who served, but we are fortunate that many WWII veterans’ children tell their stories.

This past weekend, I was with a small group of men raising funds for a WWII Memorial.  “May Fest” is a popular day with thousands turning out in our community.  I enjoyed hearing the many stories about dads, moms, uncles, and cousins during the War.  I heard many stories about these men and women and what they did during the War, and I appreciate that these family stories are being passed down.

Some of these stories were:

  • An uncle and a grandfather were on Iwo Jima.
  • A grandfather who was in the Navy at D-Day, driving a Higgins Boat.
  • Two uncles in the 101st Airborne during the D-Day invasion.
  • A grandmother, a nurse in England.
  • … and many who told me about their relatives in the Korean and Vietnam War.

Here are three more detailed stories that I liked.  There are many more; space limitations prevent me from giving more information.  But I was privileged to hear these three.

  1. His mother was a French Resistance Fighter. From a small town about 30 minutes south of Geneva, France (near Italy), his mother delivered messages to resistance fighters in the mountains, helping coordinate their sabotage efforts against the Germans.  She also housed and coordinated the hiding of Jewish families.  His mom was 18 years old.  Most of her friends from her village were captured, tortured and many executed.  His mother moved to America after she had her first child but did not tell her story until 1973, when she was invited to Israel and France to give a talk on her war efforts.  Her story is detailed in a book written in French.  Maybe, one day, it will be translated.
  2. On his first run over Germany in October 1943 to attack the ball bearing manufacturing factories in Schweinfurt, Germany. This is one of the most famous and most destructive bombing missions of the war.  It was also known as Black Thursday because of the American losses.  Of 291 B-17s, 77 were lost and 121 damaged.  The lady’s dad was the tail gunner on one of the surviving B-17s.  She described her dad’s story as “riveting” and “scary as hell.”  His aircraft was hit 115 times with shrapnel from anti-aircraft artillery.  Nearly every man on his plane was wounded, two died, and three returned to America with injuries too serious to return.  Her dad flew another 21 missions before his bomber was shot down.  He was lucky that U.S. Army forces found him before the Germans.
  3. His dad “Frank” was with Patton’s Third Army and part of the relief of the Battle of the Bulge. This battle was the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by Americans in WWII.  A “sergeant” in a tank battalion, his dad was part of a unit that broke through the lines to relieve soldiers in the siege of Bastogne, the 101st Airborne.  After he was grown and 30 years old, his dad told him about the unrelenting attacks, the noise, the horror of the battlefield, the freezing cold, the snow, leaving friends wounded and mourning those who died.  His dad was fortunate to meet Gen. George S. Patton personally.


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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

29 thoughts on “The Children of WWII Veterans Tell Stories

  1. Dead Pool Guy

    Gen. Satterfield, you should be honored that you hear so many stories about our heroes.

    1. Len Jakosky

      I agree, an honor to hear these stories and somehow associated with those who have gone before us and done great deeds of bravery. Resilience, courage, grit, focused, and hard-nosed. Those are the kind of people to have around you. Listening to the stories of such people could make me sit for hours.

  2. Doug Smith

    Loving the WW2 stories. Can’t say enough how much respect I have for these men and women. Thanks again, as others have written, for this article and the stories of courage.

    1. H. M. Longstreet

      Right, wars are bad but those who fight for freedom are good. Let’s keep it that way. America is a beacon of hope. It will always be so as long as we stay on our push for freedom. Remember that freedom is not free. Also, get ready for Memorial Day.

  3. New Girl #1

    Thank you, Gen. Satterfield for sharing this. I know you have been working on a long series about how to make us better people. This is a break from that. Tomorrow is another day. I wouldn’t have had it any other way for you to give us a few stories. If you find out more, pass them along to us. Thanks!

  4. Edward G.

    These great adventures and stories are being lost, thousands a day as our world war 2 veterans are passing. This is sad because there is so much to understand and learn.

    1. Martin Shiell

      Got that right Edward G. My mom was a nurse in the latter part of the Vietnam War, over there with the men. She told he stories that would shock a strong man. Yet, she was gentle and a great mom. Always had her head on straight and not tolerant of idiots or fools.

  5. Janna Faulkner

    The French Resistance fighter was my favorite story.

  6. Max Foster

    Excellent, this is why I read this leadership website. You can never tell what story will pop up or what you can learn about being a better person (or by extension a better leader). And, you get a chance to get inside the head of a leader of soldiers. Take advantage of this while you can. Most of us never get the opportunity to figure out how they think, even a little bit. Pay attention. Focus, and be ready to learn.

    1. 76 Wife

      Many of our young adults will not do it. Sad they will miss so much and dismiss important lessons in life.

      1. Bryan Z. Lee

        You can only led the horse to water, you can’t make him drink from the fountain of wisdom.

  7. Pumpkin Spice

    Wow, I’d like to read more about our WW2 veterans. Thanks for sharing these. I’m sure they were unexpected.

  8. Veronica Stillman

    Right, Gen. Satterfield, these veterans from WWII are not around much any more. Sad. But as long as they passed along what they did, their relatives can keep their past alive for our upcoming generations. Don’t lose these stories. Record them somehow. Write a book for your relatives so the stories of courage and sacrifice are never lost. ✔

  9. Lady Hawk

    Thank you, Gen. Satterfield for these stores. 👍👍👍👍👍

  10. JT Patterson

    A serious benefit for collecting for the WWII memorial. Where did you say the memorial was being build, Gen. Satterfield?

  11. Unwoke Dude

    Article with some great stories. I would never have thought folks would share these family stories. Usually very private.

    1. Sadako Red

      They should be happy to share these stories. Their relatives – mothers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers – all were part of destroying Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan. A noble goal, indeed.

      1. Kenny Foster

        Red, wonderful to see you are reading Gen. Satterfield’s blog. I know that I speak for us all when I say we look forward to your next article.

      2. Otto Z. Zuckermann

        Yes, Sadako Red, I’m one of your original fans. Remember me? I always read what you write and always comment. Hey, thanks for being on Gen. S’s blog today. I’m happy to see you back. Oh, great comment.

        1. catorenasci

          Yep, many fans out here. Write another article soon!!!!!

  12. Plato

    Why do we respect these men and women so much? They show us the moral way, that the way is difficult (very dangerous) and we will lose friends and teammembers. They show us that being good (moral and ethical) is hard, that we are imperfect and we are greatly flawed but we can do it, if we have the right moral aim.

  13. Forrest Gump

    My grandfather was in at the end of WWII, and he lived. Thanks to him, I’m here. He was at Anzio Italy when they went ashore to kick the Germans and Italians in the butt. Proud of him.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      You should be proud. Thanks for sharing Forrest.

  14. rjsmithers

    Many Many Many great stories like these out there.

    1. Frontier Man

      …. exactly why we have to make the effort to find them.


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