The submarine veterans of World War II have seen this coming for a long time.
At their national convention this month, 62 veterans attended where thousands used to go.
The U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II disbanded at the end of its convention Sept. 7 in Norfolk, Va. Local chapters now must decide whether to continue operating under another name or to dissolve as well.
This month in Groton, J. “Deen” Brown announced to his fellow WWII submarine veterans that the Thames River Chapter has a new name.
“Eastern USA Chapter U.S. Submarine Veterans of WWII,” he told members before their monthly luncheon at the U.S. Submarine Veterans clubhouse.
“We simply have to face the fact that we’re all getting older and, as we do so, eventually we simply cannot remain a viable national organization,” said Brown, 90, of Oakdale.
We’re rapidly approaching the end of an era. Oh, the last World War II veteran won’t die for some time, but the time when the cohort of vets was a major political and cultural influence on the nation is past.
My father joined right after the war. And already associations that he was a part of have been forced to disband for lack of numbers. The trend will only continue. And since today, even with a decade of war behind us, only a small percentage of the population are veterans, will we see groups like the VFW and the American Legion shrink to token status?