KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Every day, memories of World War II disappear.
To some younger people, the war’s terrors and triumphs seem like ancient history.
The oldest living World War II veteran is a New Orleans man, Lawrence Brooks, who celebrated his 110th birthday in September.
The men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their 90s. They are dying off.
When veterans are laid to rest, they are recognized for their noble service.
Burial of an East Tennessee WWII veteran
On Nov. 1, a full military service was carried out to honor the sacrifices — made so many year ago — by World War II and Korean War veteran, Ford Settle.
The rotunda at the East Tennessee Veterans cemetery was full with family and friends paying tribute to the 95-year-old county boy who grew up during the Depression and joined the U.S. Army shortly after the attacks at Pearl Harbor.
Glenda Settle, Ford’s daughter, spoke of her father and how his service affected her.
“My father instilled a lot of respect, honor, duty….It continues on today,” she said.
In 1944, Ford Settle was at D-Day, plus two. There would be more European campaigns and Korea, then retirement from the Army after 22 years of service.
Marianne Settle, Ford’s wife, recalled when they first laid eyes on each other, during his time overseas.
“We met in 1953 in London, England,” she said.
Like many World War II veterans, Ford met Marianne while stationed in Europe after the war. They married and had four children.
During his eulogy, Sgt Settle was remembered for his unwavering duty to country like so many of his generation.
“All those men, 16 million,” Marianne Settle. “We need to remember every one of them.”
By the numbers
Statistics from the US Department of Veterans Affairs record there were 16 million World War II American veterans.
Now, 348 are dying each day, according to the VA.
By the end of 2019, just over 400,000 will still be alive.
In Tennessee, there are an estimated 8,500 World War II veterans still living.
Laid to rest
“I guess they were called the Greatest Generation for a reason because they went through a lot of tough times, not just in the war, but also growing up,” said Roy Settle, Ford’s son.
With the Flag of Honor presented to his wife, the stories of Ford Settle will live on for other generations.
“Just thinking about dad, I know that this would have really made him proud to see this,” Roy Settle said. “I know what I’m going to do on Veterans Day, I’m going to be right here because my father is going to be honored. The flag is at half, you know, half-staff. I really am proud of my father and all the other vets that were associated with him.”
At the East Tennessee Veteran’s cemetery, Roy Settle is now resting at peace with his fellow veterans.