Ninety-five-year-old Russell Anderson of Louisa credits a double hernia caused by lifting a 100-pound bag of potatoes with saving his life.
Anderson served in the United States Army during World War II feeding the troops, first as a cook and later as an accomplished baker.
Before his scheduled surgery to repair the hernias, Anderson’s entire company was sent to the Battle of the Bulge, where he said three-quarters of his platoon was killed.
As a member of “The Greatest Generation,” stories such as Anderson’s are being lost. The sights, sounds, triumphs and tragedies of this group vanish with each passing day.
Like Anderson, young men and women of that era grew up during the hardship of the Great Depression, and many were mere teenagers who left high school to fight in one of the most destructive conflicts in history.
According to the Department of Defense, 1,235 Virginians died in combat, while 27 died in prison camps. More than 1,300 Virginians were wounded and 58 prisoners of war were released.
While some fought overseas, others on the home front made material contributions to the war effort, for which the generation was also termed the G.I. Generation.
To read the entire story, see the Aug. 28 edition of The Central Virginian.