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Of the 16.1 million Americans who served in World War II, the US government estimates that fewer than 3 million are alive today.

According to the US Census 2006 American Community Survey, Quincy Massachusetts (population 90,000) is home to more than 1200 World War II veterans, most of whom are over 80 years old.

As part of its Remembering World War II series, Quincy’s Thomas Crane Public Library has created this website to explore and celebrate the history of this “Greatest Generation” through personal stories, interviews, and a selection of books, films, websites, music and pictures that we hope will bring this period of history to life.

We would love to hear from you. Please visit our Stories page to write your own story, or contact us at 617-376-1316 for information on other ways to tell your story.

The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw:
“At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world, they were fighting in the most primitive conditions possible across the bloodied landscape of France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and the coral islands of the Pacific. They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest.

They succeeded on every front.

As they now reach the twilight of their adventurous and productive lives, they remain, for the most part, exceptionally modest. They have so many stories to tell, stories that in many cases they have never told before, because in a deep sense they didn’t think that what they were doing was that special, because everyone else was doing it too.”

World War II veterans: Proud to Serve
—From the United States Department of Veteran Affairs

16.1 million
The number of U.S. armed forces personnel who served in World War II between Dec. 1, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946.

33 months
The average length of active-duty by U.S. military personnel during WWII.

73%
The proportion of U.S. military personnel who served abroad during WWII.

16 months
The average time U.S. personnel served overseas during WWII.

292,000
The number of U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines killed in battle in WWII.

114,000
The number of other deaths sustained by U.S. forces during WWII.

671,000
The number of U.S. troops wounded during WWII.

210,000
The estimated number of women in 2002 who were WWII veterans. These women comprised 4.4 percent of WWII vets.

22%
The proportion of all veterans in April 2000 who were WWII veterans.

76.7 years old
The median age of WWII veterans four years ago when the last census was conducted.

11.6%
The proportion of WWII veterans who were still employed in 2000.

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