MARION, OH (WCMH) — Memorial Day celebrates military members who have died protecting our country.
The National World War II Museum statistics show only 558,000 out of the 16 million American men and women who served as part of the greatest generation are still living by 2017. 362 of WW II veterans are dying each day.
Two of those are relatives who are living in the same community in Marion.
They are cousin’s John Hunter, 94 and Barbara Sutherland, 97 who both served during the same time in WW II. Hunter said they rarely saw each other, but is now living in the same retirement community.
“I just remember we were in danger all the time,” said Hunter as he thumbed through a scrapbook he made.
Hunter was a Lieutenant Command aboard an attack destroyer serving in the Pacific Ocean. Barbara Sutherland was stationed in Long Island with the WAVES, also known as the Women’s Reserve.
Pointing to a picture he said, “This was me in a swim suit and of course this was my cousin Barbara in a swim suit.”
Although time is taking a toll on the two, and their memory is not what it used to be, John’s nephew Tom Sutherland he couldn’t be prouder of both of them.
“I am proud of them big time! That generation is the best. He was a Lt. Commander on a ship, an officer and he loved the Navy,” Sutherland said.
After the war Hunter and Sutherland took different paths, him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an engineering job. She taught college classes, before they ended up back together as 90-year-olds.
For more than a year the two have lived at Primrose Retirement Community in Marion.