The generation that lived through the storm of World War II has been called the Greatest Generation. This Memorial Day that generation is close to fading into history, the coming years will hold our last chances to hear them in the flesh.
Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive! is a non-profit organization collecting stories from that generation and encouraging later generations to listen to those who lived through history while they still can. The story of Edith Shain is part of their collection.
I’m a nurse working at Doctors’ Hospital in Manhattan. The radio in my patient’s room is playing “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”. My patient is taking the medication I handed to him.
The music is interrupted with an announcement that Japan has surrendered and the war is over…
I’m stunned, incredulous, and joyful. Fifteen minutes later, after removing my cap, I’m running to the subway. I get on the train to Times Square.
When I get there, I run up the steps and to the street, walk a short distance.
I’m surrounded by jubilation. Soldiers, sailors, old and young civilians. I celebrate with them.
A sailor puts his arm around me, bends me back, holds me, and gives me a long kiss. I close my eyes. When he releases me, I turn in the opposite direction and walk away.
The sailor is a symbol of all who fought in the horrific savagery of the war who shared courage, responsibility, and commitment.
We at home were with you.
Now, we are all together; the combination of all of our efforts.
Now, the empty spaces will be filled.
Now, the broken pieces will be put together.
Now, relationships will be repaired.
Now, we have peace.
This Memorial Day ask someone who lived through World War II to share their story.