Few WWII vets left for annual luncheon

Published 11:07pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What few veterans of the WWII era are left in Bainbridge and a handful of veterans from other later wars, enjoyed the annual Veteran’s Day Luncheon at the Kirbo Center, hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization.
Family members came in support of their veterans and even widows showed to show their appreciation.
“It was good to see people come today who were really struggling to get here,” Guy Barber, luncheon chairman for the VFW said Monday. “We are losing so many but those who can make here physically — they always come. WWII veterans are dying by the thousands every day but I noticed this year we are getting less and less and less.”
At the end of the luncheon, Barbara Miller led the crowd in song. All veterans stood and sang during the song for their branch of the military.  Barber pointed out that as numbers dwindle, no men or women stood for the Coastguard anthem.
“We had someone stand for that last year, but now, just to show you how we are losing the WWII veterans so quickly, we had no one stand for that song this year,” Barber said.
Leaving the banquet was a true sign of the times. Walkers and canes aided the veterans into the carpool line at the Kirbo Center.
But there were some young faces amongst those honored at the luncheon.
Captain Lynn Griffin of the U.S. Army is from Bainbridge and currently stationed in Hinesville at Ft. Stewart where she works as an optometrist. At the age of 30, she preps service men and women before they are deployed and gets their glasses and contacts in order. On the base she helps veterans with their vision and also helps eye diseases.
“It was really cool to be here today because there are so few of the WWII veterans left,” Griffin said, and added her father, who attended the luncheon with her, served in Vietnam. “it is a totally different army now than it was when they served and those men, those old veterans, get our utmost respect.”
Former publisher of The Post-Searchlight, veteran and Bainbridge native Sam Griffin told the crowd of veterans and their supporters why the country should always remember and honor veterans from all wars in our country. He spoke about how so many heroes and stories are being forgotten.
“Unfortunately a great number of the millions of Americans who have served their nation in war and peace over the near two and a half centuries of our history, were gone long before we here today first drew breath,” Griffin reminded. “The ranks of those remaining shrank every day but the causes, the course, the theaters, the warriors, the heroes, and the names of the battles and challenges of their times linger in our memories. Often times too vaguely and remote, but they form a litany that we should be familiar with. In fact they should be familiar to every American today.”

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