WWII vets reflect on friends lost, what they hope people remember this Memorial Day

Military Matters

COLORADO SPRINGS — Remembering and honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom is the true intention of Memorial Day. For veterans, the day is sometimes a painful reminder of the friends and family they’ve lost.

FOX21 Photojournalist Ray Harless and FOX21’s Brandon Thompson caught up with some veterans reflecting on the heroes who never came home. 

“I can still see these faces of people I knew who gave everything for their country,” said Roy Eastin, USAAF WWII CPL.

Wayne Daniels was an Air Force Pilot in WWII.

“Everything was just fine, then suddenly there were some flashes of red in front of us, a little bit below us, and off to one side and then there was one right in the windshield,” he explained.

Daniels described co-piloting a B-17 Bomber with 10 on board. Not all onboard made it out alive.

“I can look back and so many of my men are gone,” Edwin Beck, FMR. U.S. Army recalled.

Beck said he was on the ground, in WWII, when he was captured by Nazis in Europe. He was locked up in prison with his fellow soldiers, he said, as Nazis told them the war was over.

He said, “some of these guys that are killing themselves, suicides, you know, I say it never goes away. It was 77 years ago when I got captured. You see all these young guys that are barely 18 years old. It’s just too much.”

It can be difficult to reconcile with that loss, as times passes and the nation pushes on. But those heroes live on in the hearts and minds of those they left behind.

“Each one of these memorials are real people, and they died in the service of their country probably by combat or by injury. And they had families,” Daniels said. “Those of us who were survivors appreciate them, and we honor them.”

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