KINGSVILLE, Texas — According to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, more than 200 World War II veterans die per day, and soon there won't be any left.
They're called 'The Greatest Generation' for a reason. So many sacrificed so much to defeat Nazi Germany.
Abelardo Perez Alvarez, 98, was there for much of it, from Normandy to Germany.
“I was drafted in 1942,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez is part of a dying breed of WWII veterans. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there were roughly 240,000 as of September 2021. That number which decreases every day.
“World War II veterans, my God, those are the one who protected us years ago,” said Kleberg County Commissioner Jerry Martinez. “That's why we have, what we have right now, because of them.”
Martinez has made it his mission to honor WWII veterans like Alvarez.
Recently, Martinez presented Alvarez with a Quilt of Honor recognizing his service.
“I am very happy,” said Alvarez. “Because somebody remembers my life.”
Alvarez saw some of Europe’s fiercest fighting, starting on June 6, 1944.
He landed at Omaha Beach as part of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy; also known as D-Day.
“(There were) a lot of soldiers dead,” Alvarez said of Omaha Beach. ”The water looked like blood.”
Alvarez served with the 4th Armored Div. which was part of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army.
He fought his way across France and into Belgium, breaking German lines in the Battle of the Bulge.
When the war was over, Alvarez made his way back home to Kingsville.
“I never thought about whether I'd come home or not,” Alvarez said. “My mom's prayers brought me home.”
Alvarez also received an American flag which flew over the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., as well as a Texas flag which flew over the State Capitol in Austin.
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