Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a legal holiday in the united states in 1918 to honor the end of World War I.
With the approval of legislation to replace Armistice with the word veterans in 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
16.1 million living veterans served during at least one war. The same number served during World War II., about 558,000 are still alive.
One of those veterans turned ninety-five this year. He resides in Lower Salem, Ohio with his wife and cat, Mickey.
Donald Bennett, 95, of Lower Salem, Ohio is a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Donald is an active member of Twin Rivers Baptist Church in Marietta, Ohio. Involved in a bowling league and still gets out to golf.
“I have a wonderful family; they all care for me and mom. I think I married the right woman we’ve been married for seventy years and we are hoping to go on for a few more,” says Donald.
Donald was born June 13, 1922 in Cambridge, Ohio.
“I enjoyed myself at that time and those years are a lot different than they are today. We didn’t have too much,” says Bennett.
Two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Donald signed up for the U.S. Marines.
Bennett was called to serve in July of 1942, and after months of training he was shipped overseas to fight.
Bennett says, “they shipped me to Guadalcanal to second raider battalion and I went to Guadalcanal to Bougainville and met my raiders there.” “While there we didn’t have hot meals we were on the front lines and we just had rations, I went from 170 pounds to 128 pounds.”
During the war, Donald came close to loosing his life several times.
“I woke up and I seen this grenade coming through the air,” says Bennett. “The grenades had powder sparks when they threw them and you could see them coming. I yelled grenade get down and I threw my body over those four three guys there”
Donald was fortunate enough to leave the war after the surrender of Japan was signed in September, 1945.