Marion VFW unveils WWII monument 72 years after its conclusion - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Marion VFW unveils WWII monument 72 years after its conclusion

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MARION -- William Penrod teared up Saturday at the unveiling of a new monument dedicated to "The Greatest Generation," 72 years after the end of the second World War.

"It means everything to me," he said. "It kind of got to me."

In a ceremony on the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II, the Marion VFW honored Penrod and other local veterans of the war, adding a permanent memorial on the post's property.

"They didn't have the permanent marker out here and we knew that it was time," said former post commander Mike Gunter. "It was past time to have it out there."

Penrod served in the Army from 1944 to 1946 and was stationed mainly in Germany. He described the war in one word: "horrible."

He said there are some things he hasn't and won't ever be able to forget.

"I remember seeing all of the people in the concentration camps in Germany," he said. "I'll never forget that."

The ceremony brought back memories of the men he fought alongside, especially those who paid with their lives.

"I remember all of them," he said. "Some that didn't make it, too."

As the crowd at the event cheered, shook hands and called the veterans heroes, Penrod said he was just doing his duty for the land he loves.

"It's the greatest love you have, your own country, and you'd to anything to save it," he said.

And as he looked on to the permanent monument of sacrifices he and so many others made, the 98-year old said he hopes it will serve as a reminder to Americans of all generations to cherish the freedoms he fought to protect.

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