Many of our WWII veterans never wanted to share their experience when they got home; they just wanted to move on.
WFMY -- Because there are so few World War II Veterans left, hundreds die each day, a lot of us only know about what are parents or grandparents went through from the stories they felt compelled to share.
Many of them never wanted to share their experience when they got home; they just wanted to move on.
That was the case with WFMY News 2's Lauren Melvin's grandfather.
Her grandfather, Edward Melvin, Jr., was a pilot in WWII. He was stationed in Southern Italy and flew a B-24.
Melvin enlisted in 1943 and finished his service in 1945, just a few months after V-E Day.
But it wasn't until after Melvin died in 2006, that his family learned more about his service.
He kept a scrapbook with pictures, a diary of his missions, and even newspaper clippings that are now 69 and 70 years old.
Eventually, he gave the scrapbook to Lauren's father. But he never spoke about WWII.
Lauren's dad could only recall one time his father even mentioned his experience, and it wasn't until the Gulf War.
"There were images on the TV of the various laser-guided missiles, hitting various targets. And I had commented to him, as we were watching. I said, 'boy dad, that's pretty amazing to see that. What was it like with you?' And he kind of jokingly said, 'well, it was nothing like that.' He said, 'we worked with protractors and compasses and a lot of measuring work.' It was a lot different when he did it, he said. And really, that was the extent of his conversations about the war," said Lauren's father.
Lauren's dad only recalled one other time that WWII was even mentioned, when he was growing up. And it was actually during a conversation he had with his grandparents.
"When he came home from war, they wanted to give him some type of a present. And they offered to buy him a small plane or a grand piano. And my dad loved playing the piano, he chose the piano instead of the plane. And I think that was indicative of his desire to close the chapter, so to speak, on his flying and war experience," said Lauren's dad.
"He didn't want to have anything to do with flying anymore."
Like so many young men who served in WWII, it was their job to fight. Edward Melvin was just like his comrades who were fortunate enough to come home. They came home. They went to work in other fields, started families and let history be just that.