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Brothers Who Served Together, Remember Together

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2005 – Growing up in the hills of Kentucky, the Venable brothers were always close. But when all four shipped out to serve in World War II, they ended up in different parts of the world and didn't have contact with each other for almost four years.

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From left, Ernest, Rufus and James Venable, who all served in World War II, were together in Washington, D.C, to attend the World War II 60th Anniversary Commemoration Sept. 2 at the World War II Memorial. DoD photo by Sgt. Sara Wood

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The end of the war was a joyous occasion for them, because it brought them all home.

Now, 60 years later, the Venable brothers are together again, here in the nation's capital to celebrate the anniversary of that joyous occasion.

Rufus, James and Ernest Venable traveled from Ohio to attend the World War II 60th Anniversary Commemoration at the World War II Memorial here Sept. 2. Their oldest brother, Bill, died in 1988 but was with them in spirit as they viewed the memorial for the first time, the brothers said.

Rufus Venable, 83, served as a pharmacist's mate in the Navy for almost four years. He spent most of his time in the Pacific Islands, he said, and remembers fondly the day he heard of the unconditional Japanese surrender.

"I still think it saved lives all the way around," he said.

James Venable, 80, was an Army infantryman during the war. Sept. 2, 1945, was important to him, he said, because it meant he would get to see his brothers again.

"We all served the same time and we all came home," he said. "We were all walking - not so good, some of us -- but we were walking."

James said the memorial impressed him with its size and beauty, and he was glad he was able to see it.

"I have a real good feeling about it," he said. "I'm so proud of it."

Ernest Venable, 78, was still in high school when his older brothers left to serve in the war. He said he felt guilty, so the minute he turned 18, he joined the Army Transportation Corps and found himself aboard the USS Silverado in the Pacific Islands.

Ernest had been serving for only a few months when he heard about the end of the war, but he said he cried because he knew how long his brothers had been fighting and what dangers they had faced.

He was in awe of the memorial, Ernest said, and being with his brothers held special significance for him.

"It's awesome and unbelievable, especially to get to be here with my two older brothers," he said.

Ernest said he thought of his oldest brother, Bill, who served in the Air Force, when walking through the memorial, and he knew that if Bill were with them, he, too, would be awestruck.

The Venable brothers flew here with the Honor Flight program, which flies disadvantaged World War II veterans from the Ohio area to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial. A retired Air Force captain started the program, which operates solely with donations and volunteer efforts.

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Related Sites:
World War II Memorial
Honor Flight

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WWII Vets Honored at 60th Anniversary of War's End

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