While many have forgotten, these men remember VE Day


* By Dennis Yohnka The Daily Journal *

While Memorial Day and Veterans Day show no signs of being forgotten, VE Day (Victory in Europe) has definitely slipped in the 65 years since it generated banner headlines and spontaneous celebrations.

“People don’t talk about it, I guess, because Germany’s surrender didn’t mean the war was over,” said Melvin Booker, an 83-year-old resident of the Illinois Veterans Home at Manteno. “But if you were over there, you’ll never forget it.”

Booker and two fellow service buddies talked about the day they shared on Friday — the VE Day anniversary.

Each man came from different parts of the country and served in different capacities, but this home and this experience are the ties that bind the men, making them more than roommates.

Robert Sandlin, 81, grew up in Peoria, but found himself in Italy on VE Day. He was on duty at a prisoner of war camp when he heard the news.

“It was just word of mouth, but we believed it,” he said. “The guys staged a little parade right then and there. And there was some drinking.

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