Lessons Of Sorrow And Sacrifice

USS Shaw explodes during Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 1941
Behind every veteran wrinkle, in the twinkle of eyes long gone bad, there are stories of survival to tell and these days, they're being told a lot.

"Somebody else came into the house and said Pearl Harbor has just been bombed," recalled Dorothy Astman. "And life changed."

Somehow, reports CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan, that Sunday in 1941 seems a little closer now and the burdens of honor, duty and sacrifice are not so old fashioned anymore.

Dorothy Astman was only 26 and engaged when America was attacked the first time.

On Sept. 11 and the days to follow, most of the residents at Atria Retirement and Assisted Living expressed an interest in showing support for our country. They also wanted to talk about past events, including Pearl Harbor.

Having never experienced this type of assault on our country, younger generations wanted to talk with those who had been through other difficult times.

Atria has published a collection of in-depth stories from residents to help younger generations understand the past and help the older generation recognize how much we value its experience and wisdom.

Click here for more on Lessons for our Lifetime.

Her wedding went off without a hitch, then her husband went off to war. Leaving her, and millions like her, to battle a new world armed only with resolve.

"We never doubted that we were going to win. Never," said Astman.

Bill Kintzing went from a surgical intern to a naval doctor over night — examining the flood of ordinary citizens, all volunteering to become extraordinary soldiers.

He recalls streets lined with people to sign up.

"Never a show of patriotism like that I've ever seen."

Soon, everything was being shipped overseas — troops, gasoline, food. Patience however, stayed at home.

"I wrote a letter every single day for over two years. I remember watching for the mailman everyday and if he went by and didn't' leave anything then you started waiting for the next day," said Astman.

By the time Harry Michaelson got to the beaches of Normandy he was in his third campaign, shoulder to shoulder with those who bounced from one overseas battlefield to the next.

"I was doing something for my country in my little way. Five thousand of us with the same mind and body to do what our Unites States expected of us," he said.

But does Harry Michaelso consider himself a hero?

"No, because what did I do? I learned how to shoot and fight for my country," he said.

Lessons of sorrow and sacrifice, learned by one generation, now being taught to another.

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