SUNBURY—The Sunbury Rotary Club had a special meeting Thursday, the anniversary of D-Day.
Five World War II vets were guests of honor at the Edison Hotel in Sunbury, each one with vivid memories of the war and his service.
“I remember everything vividly, even though it was 70 years ago. I remember standing in the cold at the railroad station departing, in February of 1943, and I remember coming back from Europe and the mess I was in for over four years, seeing the Statue of Liberty in the harbor and being the happiest I can be,” said Sidney Apfelbaum of Sunbury.
The veterans spent time in India, England, France, and Germany among other places, far from their childhood homes in Pennsylvania. They brought some of their World War II memorabilia to the rotary meeting.
Ellis Wood spent time in China and India.
“I had a secret approval because I knew where the Burma Road convoys were throughout the area, so I was required to have a secret approval and of course there weren’t many Americans in China,” said Wood.
Lee Hummel of Monroe Township was not on the beaches of Normandy, but he was overseas and in danger and he remembered the fateful day the president made a major announcement.
“While I was home, President Truman ordered the bomb be dropped over Hiroshima, and that was a big day, believe me,” he said.
Thousands of American soldiers lost their lives during WWII. The men said they are grateful to be able to share their stories, decades later. They are members of what is called the Greatest Generation, those who put their lives on the line for their country, whether they were drafted or not.
“I joined the Army on my 18th birthday because I wanted to keep the world safe for democracy, that was in my heart. I had no other responsibility except for me, now once I got there, it was scary as hell. I think it was my responsibility, at that time to tell you the truth and I think these guys will tell you the same thing,” said Stan Seiple of Sunbury.