A Veteran Recalls Army, Life and Family

10:54 PM, Nov 12, 2012   |    comments
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Winnsboro, SC (WLTX) -- It is estimated that there are only 1.5 million World War II veterans alive out of the over 16 million that served our country.

Vernon Mayes is one of those World War II veterans, he was drafted before his graduation and soon was being shipped off on the Queen Elizabeth to Europe.

Mayes said, "Going across we didn't have escorts, because we changed course every three minutes and it zigzagged across there and I mean people were sick on that ship."

Mayes was part of Patton's Third Army, he spent time in seven different countries during the war, and he also helped liberate Buchenwald, a concentration camp in Germany.

"I think they were happy to get out, but really it has been so long ago, there is a lot of things I can't remember," said Mayes.

Some of the horrors of war have forgotten, others have been pushed aside, but through it all, the biggest challenge has been dealing with losing his wife of nearly 60 years.

Mayes said, "That's the worst thing to ever happen to me, losing my mate."

Now, just as he did when he was a soldier in the mid 40s, Mayes continues to push forward knowing that veterans his age are becoming more scarce.

According to Mayes, "There's not too many people that live that long, there are some that live longer, but there is not that many that get to reach 89."

Mayes is a recipient of the Bronze Star, he settled in Winnsboro after World War II, he has 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.

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