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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10 Comments

  1. K King2 weeks 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
  2. Gilian Donders, The Netherlands4 weeks 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
  3. Fred Stapf1 month ago

    One million of us left GOD please bless us all

    Reply
  4. Alan Abel2 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. Kylie2 months ago

      My great grandpa is one of the world war 2 vets

      Reply
      1. cmccall4 weeks 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
  5. Jeannette Schupbach2 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
  6. Linda4 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. cmccall4 weeks ago

      god bless him and your family

      Reply
  7. John4 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