June 6, 2014

On D-Day anniversary, only 1 million World War II veterans still alive

U.S. WW II veteran Arden C. Earll, right, from Erie, Pennsylvania, landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, with the 116th infantry regiment, salutes along with other WW II veterans as part of the commemoration of the 70th D-Day anniversary, Credit: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere
U.S. WW II veteran Arden C. Earll, right, from Erie, Pennsylvania, who landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, with the 116th infantry regiment, salutes along with other WWII veterans as part of the commemoration of the 70th D-Day anniversary. Credit: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

FT_14.06.05_D-Day-anniversaryPresident Obama marks the 70th anniversary of the pivotal invasion of Europe at a ceremony in Normandy, France, today to pay tribute to the 16 million Americans who served in World War II. The moment is a particularly special one, given the dwindling ranks of the “greatest generation” whose members fought in that costly battle.

Just over one million World War II veterans survive today, according to Veterans Administration figures collected by The National WWII Museum.

When Ronald Reagan made his presidential pilgrimage to the battle site of Pointe du Hoc in 1984 on the invasion’s 40th anniversary, paying tribute to the American Ranger team that took heavy casualties capturing a German-occupied cliff, there were still 10.7 million World War II veterans alive.

By the next decennial anniversary, the VA estimates that their numbers will be down to 81,117.

Topics: Military and Veterans, Wars and International Conflicts

  1. Photo of Bruce Drake

    is a Senior Editor at the Pew Research Center.

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19 Comments

  1. Alaina3 weeks ago

    I am so proud of my grandfather because he is in the world war 2

    Reply
  2. Herbertificus4 weeks ago

    I’ll say this . . . All decent, thoughtful Americans are very grateful for what the WWII generation in general and veterans in particular did for us and the entire world.

    But the fact is that far too many “Americans” today do not appreciate the many, many sacrifices that The Greatest Generation and our other forefathers made in fighting back the forces of evil and securing/preserving our freedom. Far too many “Americans” today are totally unworthy of the sacrifices made on their behalf and they don’t deserve the freedoms our fighting men purchased for them with life and limb. It makes me angry to see all of those sacrifices trampled on by people who don’t understand or value FREEDOM at all. These “Americans” are slowly turning our gov’t into the same overreaching, all-controlling, authoritarian type of gov’t that or vets fought against in both World Wars.

    I put it to you: do you not agree that our expressions of appreciation for our vets necessarily must be accompanied by our best efforts to protect the freedoms they fought for and to repudiate anyone who would slowly give away our freedoms in the hope of gaining a free ride through life at the expense of his fellow citizen?

    Reply
  3. larry1 month ago

    I been reading warhorse and I was wondering if there were any survived after ww1,but there wasn’t any so I looked up ww2 and I found this site.I salute to the people that have pass and are still alive.

    Reply
  4. Alex Virgin Ross2 months ago

    I’ve in search for people who had survived the goriest WW-II, and finally I’ve found this site. I salute to all veterans of WW-II. You sacrificed your everything for us to make this world a peaceful place to live. We’ve no such words to give you, but I want to say thanks to you all who fought for our safe futures. My great grand father fought both WWs but now he’s not with us. I wish he was here now and I just can thank him. God! I do not have such words to thank all those legends. I just do not have enough resources to go round the world and talk to all those who are still alive (WW-II survivors). Here, I just want to request you all if you have your dad, grand pa, uncle, or whatever your neighbor, who is veteran of WW-II, please if you could bring their life (at war) in record. We have just few left, and I wish it from te core of my heart that if we could save their tails for our generstions, because they are the brightest star of or history. Our next generations should know the peaceful world we are living in is the benevolence of the God in the answer of the sacrifices our parents had made. Who wants to bring the true story of the legend to our history book? I love you all and thanks for what you did for us and for this world. I am here: viralexgin@gmail.com! Can we build it?

    Reply
  5. Greg3 months ago

    God bless all World War II veterans. Truly they deserve our greatest admiration and gratitude. I still miss my dad who passed away in ’95; he never liked to talk about the horrors he witnessed when battling the Nazis in Algiers.

    Reply
  6. Jasmes Sexton3 months ago

    My dad is one of the remaining. He also served 3 tours in Korea in the Special Forces. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star, a Purple Heart to name a few. He is 85 years old. I know if you do the math it is hard to believe. But he ran away from home when he was 14, lied about his age and signed up. He was fighting in Germany when he was 15 years old. He us a tough old bird! I also had an Uncle at Pearl when it was bombed. He survived but has since passed (RIP) AND I had an Uncle on Iwo Jima when they raised the flag. He also survived but has since passed (RIP).

    Reply
    1. Kevin fox4 weeks ago

      Wow amazing. What did he do in the war?

      Reply
  7. Ginger Ewing3 months ago

    My father-in law turned 90 in September. He is a WW2 vet that served on the USS Massachutes for 4 years. He retired from the FDA as a meat inspector. So glad to say he is still with us today.

    Reply
  8. Diana M. Childers4 months ago

    A little trivia.

    Reply
  9. K King4 months ago

    So proud of my 90 year old Dad who fought with Patton in Europe, was in the Battle of the Bulge, D Day + and several more. He, like so many, returned with scars but used the GI bill to get his education, marry the girl waiting for him, educate their children and run his business. They were a special breed of Americans and felt it was a natural to be defending their country. Never discussing the horrors of war, but making lifetime friends during it. We are all so proud of him and the other million who helped us continue to live in a free society. Bless the soldiers who continue in that incredible tradition. THANK YOU!

    Reply
  10. Gilian Donders, The Netherlands5 months ago

    God bless all of you!

    Our heroes, our WWII vets are still welcome, we still love to meet all of you again, we want to give you what you deserve, that’s what you did for us 70years ago, you give us back our freedom.

    Those who are still close to us, the Dutch people, let me know please via gilian9@hotmail.com

    Thank you, thank you, thank you……..forever

    Reply
  11. Fred Stapf5 months ago

    One million of us left GOD please bless us all

    Reply
  12. Alan Abel6 months ago

    I am a WWII veteran with service on Okinawa. At 90+ years of age, I’m in the 5th month of an appeal to the VA for additional compensation. It feels like a treadmill to oblivion!!!

    Reply
    1. Kylie6 months ago

      My great grandpa is one of the world war 2 vets

      Reply
      1. cmccall5 months ago

        How wonderful you have someone to tell his stories, I only wish I had that. What a treasure, god bless him and your family

        Reply
  13. Jeannette Schupbach7 months ago

    My husband Vernon Alden Schupbach is still living. I do not find his name on any ww2 survivers list.He is 95 years old. He served in the US Navy 1940-1945 on USS Lawrence. We have his Honerable discharge papers. Why? Shouldn’t all survivers be recognized?

    Reply
  14. Linda8 months ago

    My dad, a WWII veteran and silver star recipient is still with us today. March 2014 he turned 90 years old. Thank you dad!

    Reply
    1. cmccall5 months ago

      god bless him and your family

      Reply
  15. John8 months ago

    I’m so humbled by our vets who have served. I feel so hollow in my life that I haven’t given such a sacrifice. I have no defense or excuse to say why I haven’t other than I’d die for the day it should ever happen. I hope whoever reads this knows I’d die for my country over and over again

    Reply