The Greatest Generation is fading into history.
World War II veterans have always been held in high esteem. Immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, 97 percent of Americans thought the United States’ subsequent declaration of war was justified, according to Gallup. Nearly 65 years later, 90 percent of Americans considered World War II as a just war.
Veterans moved to California in droves after the war. California was home to about 1.4 million World War II veterans in 1970, or about 22 percent of the state’s adult men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Roughly 63,000 of those men lived in the four-county Sacramento area.
Just 78,000 World War II veterans lived in California last year, or about 0.5 percent of the state’s adult male population. About 5,200 of them lived in the Sacramento region.
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Since 2000, California has lost an average of almost 90 World War II veterans a day. A World War II veteran who enlisted at the age of 18 in 1945 would today be 90 years old.