​Bagpipes played "Bloody Fields of Flanders" as local veterans honor their homeless brothers and sisters in a solemn pinning ceremony in Friendship Park at Loaves & Fishes on Friday, November 10, 2017 in Sacramento. 13% of Loaves and Fishes guests have served in the military. Randy Pench The Sacramento Bee
​Bagpipes played "Bloody Fields of Flanders" as local veterans honor their homeless brothers and sisters in a solemn pinning ceremony in Friendship Park at Loaves & Fishes on Friday, November 10, 2017 in Sacramento. 13% of Loaves and Fishes guests have served in the military. Randy Pench The Sacramento Bee

Local

Here’s how many World War II vets are left in Sacramento

By Phillip Reese

preese@sacbee.com

November 11, 2017 07:00 AM

UPDATED November 11, 2017 09:32 AM

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.

More

Emotional ceremony honors Pearl Harbor victims at Discovery Park

U.S. Submarine Veterans come together on Dec. 7, 2016, to honor their brothers who perished at Pearl Harbor, as well as victims of World War II submarine attacks. Veterans placed a wreath in the Sacramento River to remember to those who lost their lives in the Pearl Harbor attack 75 years ago. Family and friends of those veterans joined them on the shore of Discovery Park in Sacramento to pay their respects.

Randy Pench The Sacramento Bee

Phillip Reese is The Bee’s data specialist and teaches at Sacramento State. Reach him at 916-321-1137 or 916-278-5420.