Heroes Reunite

Published 07/31 2014 06:53PM

Updated 08/01 2014 11:41AM

In Terre Haute right now, there's a group of men who are true American heroes. 

They are World War II paratroopers, getting together for their 57th reunion.

Dana Winklepleck shows us how after all these years, the men remain strongly bonded.

While they may move slower than they used to, these men, members of the 503rd paratroopers, are quick to tell you, they're as close as family.
World War II Veteran, Nelson Gatewood says, "It's like a family reunion you know, old acquaintances."

Although they're not blood related, many shed blood to regain the Philippines from Japan. The Japanese felt the string of islands was necessary in order to control the South Pacific.

Among the men wounded, Terre Haute native Dr. Ed Llewellyn

Dr. Ed Llewellyn says the group of men he was with was targeted, "'A hand grenade hit right beside our little fox hole."
Drafted in his teens, this now 88-year-old says he signed up to be a paratrooper because it paid an extra 50 dollars a month.

Gatewood had a different reason,  "I thought that sounded interesting and I thought if I don't volunteer up for something else I will wind up in infantry and have to walk everywhere."
This group began getting together for reunions back in 1957.  They choose a different location every year.  They even visited the World War 2 memorial in Washington DC together.
At times, these reunions saw hundreds of veterans, but with age and death, this year's group is only 12.

You can learn more about those who served in World War II at the veteran's museum in Terre Haute.  Brian Mundell runs Veterans Memorial Museum and says, "To me these men are true American heroes."

He displays Dr. Llewellyn's World War II uniform as well as other information about the 503rd.
"They fought for our country. They went places they didn't ask to go." But now, they are in a place where they wanted to go, keeping in touch, and sharing memories.

If you would like to meet with these men, they will be at the Veterans Memorial Museum of Terre Haute August 2, at 11 in the morning.

The museum is located at 11-29 Wabash Avenue.

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