Men and women from the small community of Estelline, South Dakota U.S.A. who served in the military during World War II.
My mother belonged to the American Legion Woman’s Auxiliary at Estelline, South Dakota during the Second World War. She had seven brothers six served in the military. She also had two female cousins who served, one was in the Women’s Marine Corps at Quantico Virginia. The other one was a radio operator in the Army Air Corps in England.
The state of South Dakota in the U.S.A. only has a population of 865,000 people. The town I was born in Estelline, has a population today of 655 people, it was much less in 1940. The eastern part of the state is made up of farms and small towns. The towns are situated about 10 miles apart.
Almost every one of these towns has or has had a service club for veterans, either a Veterans of Foreign Wars or an American Legion Club. These service clubs and organizations started after the First World War. They continued to grow rapidly after the Second World War and through the Korean War. Today these Veterans groups and organizations are dying, for the simple reason all of the veterans have died or are dying. Most of the Second World War veterans have now passed away. The Korean War and the Vietnam Era Veterans are next to go.
Every one of these clubs had a mission, teaching about good citizenship, service to country and patriotism. Teaching the truth that freedom is not free, some people have to fight to preserve the freedom that we all enjoy and some will give the Supreme Sacrifice. Countless brave men and women have lost their lives in the line of duty, serving their country on every continent in the world. Many American Legion and V.F.W. Clubs have closed. We cannot become complacent and watch service to country and patriotism disappear. This Vital Mission will have to be carried on by private citizens and by the many Gulf War Veterans who have served their country so well.
A Legacy of Service Not Self is Born. A group of 20 officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I were asked to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., proposed an organization of veterans, which we know today as The American Legion.
Kenneth Wayrynen served in the Philippine Islands, Japan and Korea.
Marvin Wayrynen served all over Europe.
Edmond Wayrynen on left Belgium 1944
Marvin Wayrynen in Germany 1945.
Arthur Wayrynen served in Alaska and Aleutian Islands.
Wayno Wayrynen was in the Battle of the Bulge.