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Beasley among cherished WW II heroes on Veterans Day

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Thursday, November 11, 2021

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Clay Beasley, a World War II veteran in the Army and Air Force, from Virginia Beach, Va.
 

Courtesy Clay Beasley

Clay Beasley, a World War II veteran in the Army and Air Force, from Virginia Beach, Va.

 



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Clay Beasley and his wife, Mary
 

Clay Beasley and his wife, Mary

 



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Boykins, Va., celebrates a hero
 

Courtesy Clay Beasley

Boykins, Va., celebrates a hero

 

Veterans Day is a United States holiday that celebrates all military veterans who served in the Armed Forces. Parades and ceremonies are observed on November 11 each year. It is one of the nation’s 12 Congressionally designated federal holidays.

Clay Beasley, a World War II veteran in the Army and Air Force, from Virginia Beach, Va., was a celebrated hero on Wednesday in Boykins, Va., with a picture of him on a flag attached to the city’s utility pole on Main Street. Today, Beasley will also be celebrating his 96th birthday on Veterans Day. Wednesday was also the 246th birthday of the Marine Corps

Beasley was a nose gunner on a bomber but his primary role was as a navigator. He was among the crew that flew over The Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945 when the Japanese formally surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur, which effectively ended World War II.

Beasley is a reminder that everyday memories of WW II disappear. The men and women who fought and won the conflict are now in their 90s or older. According to U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs statistics, 240,329 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive in 2021.

There were around 21.8 million veterans in the United States as of 2010. There are around 9 million veterans over the age of 65.

The history of Veterans Day began as Armistice Day. At 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918,  a temporary armistice was signed and the fighting during World War I came to an end.

In 1954 Congress changed the day to Veterans Day because they wanted to honor the veterans of all wars including World War II and the Korean War.. In 1968 the day was moved to the fourth Monday of November but was later changed back to November 11 in 1978 by President Gerald Ford.

The holiday is distinct from Memorial Day, which honors those who died in military service. Veterans Day celebrates the living and the dead.

 

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