Nearly 80 years ago, we had just entered into World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
There were nearly four million U.S. military personnel enlisted, including North Dakota’s own, Norman Abernathey.
“I had my name out at 17, but I had to wait to get 18th Birthday before I could take an oath,” says Norman Abernathey, Navy Veteran.
He says the wait wasn’t too difficult, and he felt nervous and excited for what laid ahead.
“Ain’t had nothing to do so, I figured I’d go board a ship and I’d be safe. And I was,” says Abernathey with a small laugh.
Abernathey and four other World War II veterans were honored in a Veterans Day Program, where family members shared the accomplishments of the men during their time serving our country.
“We need to, what we call, ‘Tell the story.’ We need to do that. Generations behind us, you know, we are standing on the shoulders, today, of those that came before us. They need to know what that is about for them to carry on and for this great country or all is lost,” says Paul Engeldinger, Air Force Veteran.
He followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
“I knew that my number was coming, in fact, while I was in basic training, my draft number did come in,” says Engeldinger.
Engeldinger and Abernathey agree, the military taught them many things.
“Being a part of something bigger than myself,” says Engeldinger.
“You gain .. how big the world is,” says Abernathey.
Including a deeper value in the meaning of Veteran’s Day.
“Honoring those that came before us and encouragement for those that are with us now, and for those who they will then introduce to the next generation,” says Engeldinger.
Thank you for your service.
The five honored veterans were awarded the World War Two Victory Commemorative medal in recognition of their service.