ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — As many pause to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, every day the memories of World War II – both the terrors and triumphs – diminish as hundreds of World War II veterans die.
Dan Sokol flies a flag outside his house and remembers his fellow soldiers and everything they fought for.
“I’m proud of what it represents and I like to display it,” Sokol told CBS13. “I was almost as young as can be to serve in combat in World War II.”
Sokol served with the 41st Infantry. Considering it was a unit that formed more than 100 years ago, firsthand accounts of what they did for their country are becoming few and far between.
“He said, ‘Dan I think I’m hit.’ And I looked in his back and he had a shrapnel streak across his back,” said Sokol.
According to the National World War II Museum, of the 16-million Americans who served in World War II, only 325,574 are still living, with more living in California than any other state. Fifteen-year-old Preston Sharp of Redding has made it his mission to keep veterans’ stories alive.
“It’s amazing that I can hear their stories and pass it on to more people,” Sharp told CBS13.
At age 10, Preston started a movement to place flags at the gravesite of every veteran. He’s now placed more than 260,000 flags across 32 states, an act that’s been recognized by President Trump.
Two generations, more than a half-century apart are bound by the same history.
“I admire him [Preston]. I think remembering not only the wars but all of history is very important,” said Sokol.
Preston knows hearing a veteran like Sokol tell his own story is a history lesson you could never get in a classroom.
“Veterans keep me motivated to keep on going. I really feel like they deserve the respect and honoring,” said Sharp.
You can donate to Sharp’s movement to help him continue placing flags at cemeteries. https://prestonsharp.net/
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