Veterans laid wreaths at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall to remember those lost in the war over seven decades ago.
Eleven men who served in either the Pacific or European theaters joined Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, in the commemoration. Kaptur led the fight in Congress to build the memorial.
Among them was retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Harry Miller, who lied about his age at 15 to enlist.
“I think this is the greatest thing they ever did,” said Miller, referring to the memorial. “I lost a lot of good friends. In my outfit, there’s only six of us left.”
There were performances Monday morning by a brass quintet from the Army’s band Pershing’s Own, as well as singing from Deana Martin, the daughter of the late Dean Martin.
In addition to Kaptur, representatives from the National Mall and Friends of the National World War II Memorial made remarks honoring the more than 400,000 Americans killed in World War II. It’s a familiar sight for the memorial, which has been celebrating milestones of major battles as the 75th anniversary of D-Day inches closer.
Miller will be going to Normandy for the commemoration next month, thankful that he is healthy enough to make the trip so many others can’t. “I’m happy to be able to go,” he said.
Amid the musical performances and reverent remarks, for the veterans like Miller, the ceremony was an opportunity to look back fondly at their fallen friends.
“I like to keep them in my memory,” Miller said. “That’s the reason I like Memorial Day.”