How Many Wwii Vets Are Still Alive

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A World War II veteran participates in the Veterans Day parade on November 11, 2019 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

How Many Wwii Vets Are Still Alive

How Many Wwii Vets Are Still Alive

May 8 marks the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, which ended World War II in Europe. In the United States, V-E Day commemorations will honor the 16 million Americans who served during the war, although only a small fraction of those veterans are alive today.

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According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which has released projections of the number of veterans living between 2015 and 2045, there are approximately 300,000 US veterans of World War II alive in 2020. The number of World War II soldiers falls around. 939,000 in 2015. Most living war veterans are in their 90s, although some are considerably older.

Of the 350,000 women who served in the United States Armed Forces during the war, about 14,500 are alive today.

For this post on the number of American World War II veterans in 2020, we used veteran population projections calculated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Projections estimate the number of US veterans each year from September 30, 2015 to September 30, 2045.

VA projections show that between September 30, 2019 and September 30, 2020, 245 World War II veterans will die each day. These projections were calculated before the COVID-19 pandemic and do not take into account deaths related to the disease. The last living American war veteran is scheduled to die in 2044.

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Living World War II veterans are spread across the country, with the most populous states having the largest numbers. California and Florida have more than 30,000 war veterans. Each of these states is home to 10% of the population of World War II veterans.

About the Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan think tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends that shape the world. He conducts public opinion polls, demographic research, media content analysis, and other empirical research in the social sciences. The Pew Research Center does not take political positions. It is a supporter of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Copyright 2022 Pew Research Center About Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Reprint, Permission, and Use Policy Career Feedback At 110, Louisiana native Lawrence Brooks is proud of his service and says he would do it again.

How Many Wwii Vets Are Still Alive

At 110, Lawrence Brooks of New Orleans is the oldest American veteran of World War II. From 1941 to 1945, he served in the Pacific with the Army’s predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion as his officer’s aide. Of the 16 million US veterans who served in World War II, only 300,000 are still alive. It gives a healthy life, a deep faith and love for people for his longevity.

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Editor’s Note: Lawrence Brooks died on January 5, 2022, at the age of 112, the National World War II Museum said in a statement.

The memories are now more than 75 years old. Cook red beans and rice around the world from the Louisiana location where the recipe was first developed. Clean uniforms and shine shoes for three officers. Jumping through the foxholes when his trained ear could tell the approaching fighters were not American but Japanese.

The person who keeps these memories is still an adult. At 110, Lawrence Brooks is the oldest known American World War II veteran. This month marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, of the 16 million US veterans who served, about 300,000 are still alive today. (Hear the last living voice of World War II).

Brooks is proud of his military service, though his memories are complicated. Black soldiers fighting in the war could not avoid racism, discrimination and hostility at home.

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Lawrence Brooks, pictured at home, wearing a portrait of his younger self. He was born in 1909. On September 12, Brooks enlisted in the Army at the age of 31. Despite the separation from the Army and the hostile treatment he received during and after the war, Brooks is a proud veteran. After the war, he worked as a truck operator until he retired almost 40 years ago. The National World War II Museum in New Orleans hosts a birthday celebration for him every year.

When Brooks was stationed in the US Army in Australia, he was an African-American at a time when the Civil Rights Movement would at least articulate something like equality in his home country.

“I was treated a lot better in Australia than my white people,” Brooks says. “I was surprised about that. That’s what bothers me the most. Why?

How Many Wwii Vets Are Still Alive

Rob Citino, a senior historian at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, said the U.S. military had “racist characterizations” of African-American soldiers at the time during the war.

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“You could not put a weapon in their hands,” he said of the prevailing mood at the time. “They could do simple work. That was the condition of the African-American soldier, sailor, pilot, you name it.”

The jobs open to African American troops depended on the branch of service and changed as manpower requirements increased over the years of the war.

I think they were fighting for the promise of America, not the reality of America… Dr. Rob Citino Senior Historian, National World War II Museum Senior

“We went to war with Hitler, the worst racist in the world, and we did it with a separate military because, despite the guarantee of equal treatment, this was still Jim Crow America,” Citino said. “African Americans have always been subject to all kinds of restrictions and discrimination based on the color of their skin. I think they were fighting for the promise of America rather than the reality of America.”

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Of the 16 million Americans in uniform, 1.2 million were African-American, who were “often treated as second-class citizens at home,” Citino said.

To put this in perspective, Citino says, German prisoners might be served in restaurants en route to and from their quarters at Camp Herne, Texas, but African-American soldiers being transported would be denied service.

Brooks says he never discussed these differences with his African-American co-workers. “Every time I think about it, I get angry, so the best thing I would do is just quit,” he said.

How Many Wwii Vets Are Still Alive

The Army did not officially desegregate until President Harry Truman forced it through an executive order in 1948. For Brooks, who served in the Army from 1940 to 1945, that order came too late.

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A soldier hesitated, it did not sit well with him to be asked to kill another person.

“My mom and dad always raised me to love people, and I don’t care what kind of people they are,” he said. “And you are telling me, I rise against these people and I have to kill them. Oh no, I don’t know how that’s going to work.” (See Four Nine Key World War II Moments.)

Brooks grew up in Norwood, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge, in a large family of 15 children. He learned another lesson in his army work from his mother: cooking, which led him to help some white officers by cleaning and cooking for them. Part of the 91st Engineer Battalion in the Pacific theater, tasked with building military infrastructure, Brooks’ unit often didn’t stay anywhere long. Sometimes he drove the officers he served into town at night when they could be off for an adventure or two. But even this job did not stop him from carrying weapons everywhere he went.

“I had to keep it to myself,” he said. “And I was glad I did. I didn’t want them out there shooting people because they were going to shoot me and they might get lucky and get hit.”

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Brooks says he was treated “better” by white Americans when he returned from the war, but it would be nearly two decades before the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.

The father of five children, 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren, Brooks worked as a truck operator for many years before retiring in his seventies. For years, he avoided discussing his experiences in the war, telling his children little as they grew up.

His daughter, Vanessa Brooks, who cares for him, said she started hearing his stories about five years ago, when a World War II museum started hosting annual birthday parties for him in New Orleans. where he now lives. But he still avoids his family’s questions about his war years.

How Many Wwii Vets Are Still Alive

“I had some good times and I had some bad times,” Brooks said. “I just tried to put the good and the bad together and try to forget about it all.”

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Brooks says his years in the military taught him

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