Every year, we commemorate the WWII veterans and the fallen soldiers who ensured the survival of peace and democracy in the most tiring time of human history. We have shown our utmost gratitude to them through simple gifts, letters, and speeches made by the leaders of our respective countries. But, nothing can be compared to these gifts of gratitude given to WWII veterans to show the fruits of their labor as former soldiers of the biggest world war in history.
The Gifts of Sir Nicholas’ Children
When he was not yet a soldier, Sir Nicholas Winton organized the grandest scheme to save the remaining Jewish children in Czechoslovakia. This operation is called the Czech Kindertransport. He funded the travels of 650 children to Great Britain and arranged their adoption to British families who were willing to take care of them. His kind services remained in the dark for years, but the children never forgot. On BBC program “That’s Life”, Sir Nicholas Winton was secretly reunited with the children. At first, Sir Winton was unaware that he was seated next to the children he had saved. When the announcer asked if there were any in the audience that would like to give their thanks for being saved by Sir Winton, two dozen adult men and women stood and applauded their savior. Thus, reuniting them at last. It was a teary reunion that commemorated Sir Winton’s righteous rescue efforts.
For his efforts, Sir Winton was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He received a letter of thanks from former President Ezer Weizman of Israel. Lastly, he was made as an honorary citizen of Prague in the Czech Republic.
The Viral Appreciation Song
Ernest Thompson was a soldier even before the WWII started. He was designated at USS Tennessee before the war. Then, he was moved to USS Missouri when the war had started. Though his service to the military was great, he was a great grandfather to his grandson as he was a great soldier to his country.
The death of his wife spurred him to visit USS Missouri every year. However, now at 98, his health deteriorated that he cannot do his annual visits. “If Thompson can’t go to the ship, let’s bring the ship to him”, thought Sue Schmidt, volunteer coordinator and the brains of the operation.
One morning, volunteers of Chief Selects of the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center showed up on Thompson’s doorstep to sing ‘Anchor’s Aweigh’. The war veteran Thompson was in salute at his porch with a smile. After the song, each of the volunteers shook hands with Thompson. This emotional thank-you gift received 5 million views, with a special thank you message from Jonathan Williams, Thompson’s grandson.
From One Soldier to Another
Corporal Clifford Kimmel and Bill Nicholson were much alike. Both were Canadian soldiers and “D-Day Dodgers”, a nickname given to the soldiers based in Italy. However, Bill Nicholson was able to come home, Clifford Kimmel did not. After the war, he was buried in a cemetery in Ravenna, Italy.
Now at 91, Nicholson took an opportunity in the form of a local Dragon boat team to commemorate his fallen friend. Hearing Abreast With FORT-itude dragon boat team was competing in Ravenna, Nicholson approached their team captain and invited them to come and see Kimmel’s grave, which they heartfully obliged. They gave the fallen soldier a poppy flower and read him a letter from Nicholson.
Nicholson also visited Kimmel’s remaining family and youngest brother, David Kimmel, to finally lay the fate of their fallen brother. David had not only lost his older brother Clifford, but also his two other brothers in the war.