WWII veteran: It’s up to us to tell young people about unity in America


Wednesday, veterans will gather in Times Square to commemorate V-J Day, which marked the victory of the Allies over Japan in World War II in 1945.  Former WWII fighter pilot and Spirit of ’45 Campaign spokesman Jerry Yellin joined Andrea Mitchell Reports on Monday to discuss the anniversary and what it means for the country today.

“We were a nation of 16 million people that served in World War II,” Yellin said. “ And we had a profound mission to end the war of tyranny over Japan.  We did that.  And then we came home.”

But Yellin told guest host Peter Alexander that 68 years later, “people don’t remember what we do.”

“It’s up to us to tell the young people of this country what unity of America was all about,” Yellin said, as he promoted the Spirit of ’45 Campaign, whose aim is to make a renewed effort for the spirit of national service in America on the V-J Day anniversary.

“Well, I think in 1940, President Roosevelt made a speech called the Four Freedoms speech,” Yellin told Alexander. “And those four freedoms are the basis of our country: the freedom of worship, the freedom of expression, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. And those four freedoms are not prevalent in our world today. So the young people have to know that. There aren’t too many of my generation left to talk.  Fortunately, I can do that.”

Lastly, Alexander asked Yellin if there would ever be another “greatest generation” and the WWII veteran was adamant he saw the potential for another one.

“There will be another,” Yellin said. “It wasn’t the baby boomers … who did these things. They took advantage pretty much of a free life. But the young people today who instantly communicate across the world have the ability to change the world.  And it’s those young people that we’re interested in.”


WWII veteran: It's up to us to tell young people about unity in America