Short and to the point. We will be seeing more and more of this.
As Joe Chovelak stands in the World War II Memorial here, his bushy white eyebrows bristle at the notion that his beloved 29th Bomb Group is holding its last reunion.Time is what it is.
“That is harsh. I mean, ‘last reunion’ is like going to a funeral,” said Chovelak, 83, the tireless historian of the Army Air Forces that bombed Japan in 1945 and came here this weekend for the group’s 13th and final get-together. “This is a ‘farewell’ reunion.”
Farewell or last, the World War II generation is dwindling. Of 16 million who served, only one in eight remain. The Department of Veterans Affairs expects that 300,000 veterans will die this year.
Chovelak, of Naperville, Ill., will present a box of memorabilia to the Library of Congress on Monday. It will include a roster of the 2,500 men of the 29th Bomb Group. The unit’s other records will be donated to an Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio.
“I hate to see it end, but everything has to come to an end sometime,” said Cedric Fowler, 91, a B-29 radar mechanic who drove from Indianapolis with his wife for the reunion.
“They’re getting to where they can’t travel,” said his wife Dorothy, 90. “You notice all of them here are in wheelchairs, with canes and walkers.”