- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 10, 2005


Lloyd Brown remembers Armistice Day in 1918 as few — ever so few — veterans can.

“For the servicemen, there were lots of hugs and kisses,” says Mr. Brown, of Charlotte Hall, Md., a teenage seaman aboard the battleship USS New Hampshire, in port stateside when the fighting stopped. “We were so happy that the war was over.”

Now 104, Mr. Brown adds, “There’s not too many of us around any more.”

Veterans Day marks the armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, that ended what then was considered the Great War. An estimated 2 million Americans served in Europe after the U.S. entered the war in 1917.

Today, the Veterans Affairs Department lists just eight veterans as receiving disability benefits or pension compensation from service in World War I. It says a few dozen other veterans of the war probably are alive, but the government does not keep a comprehensive list.

The Census Bureau stopped asking for data about those veterans years ago. Using a report of 65,000 alive in 1990 as a baseline, the VA estimates that no more than 50 remain, perhaps as few as 30.

Mr. Brown spends little time thinking about the days his ship escorted convoys in North Atlantic waters threatened by German submarines. Living alone in a house in Southern Maryland, just a few blocks from his daughter, Nancy, he does not think that his war has been forgotten and is satisfied with the attention paid to its veterans over the years.

“You can’t celebrate World War I year after year after year, because there are other events taking place,” says Mr. Brown, who watches the news each day to keep up with the world. “You have to honor them.”

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