SWFL veterans remember V.E. Day on 75th anniversary
May 8, 1945 — V.E. Day. Victory in Europe.
That day is still etched in the memory of Don Shreve, who was still in high school 75 years ago.
“I joined the navy, but was drafted into the army,” said the former U.S. Army sergeant.
The army won his services and sent him to Europe.
“I found out when I went overseas from New York to Leharve, France, in the north Atlantic in the winter that I was glad I was not in the navy because I was sick all the way over,” he said.
Shreve finished up his service in Paris, which he said was not bad duty. But he remembers V.E. day in his small town of Arnold, Nebraska, hearing the announcement on the radio.
“Everybody was quite pleased that the war was over. We were on rationing and other things. We lived through it, it was no big deal, but they wanted their people back,” he said.
Lieutenant Bob Naum of the Army Air Corps heard the announcement over a loudspeaker in his officer’s quarters in England.
“Everyone just yelled and screamed all day,” he said.
Naum was a navigator on a B-17 and flew 29 missions over Germany and throughout Europe. He flew a mission just days before V.E. Day.
These days, he often thinks of the men he flew with and the danger they faced.
“At night, you would see the empty bunks and know those were the guys that were shot down, killed or captured,” he said. “That was real tough because the night before, you were out playing cards or games with them. They were your buddies and all of sudden, they’re just not there.”
But America and the world remain thankful for what they did.
Friday on the anniversary of V.E. Day, where was 97-year-old Lieutenant Naum? In the Everglades looking for alligators.
Test your knowledge! The U.S. Department of Defense has a quiz to see how much you know about V.E. Day and WWII.