A great deal of what American soldiers fought for in World War II is “gone down the drain,” according to World War II veteran Carl Spurlin Dekel, who recently turned 100-years-old. According to Fox 13, Dekel said that serving his country in World War II was the most meaningful thing he ever did. The veteran and Silver Star holder claims he would never hesitate to put his life on the line again, but regrets that the United States has moved away from what he remembers.
WATCH his heartbreaking moment:
“People don’t realize what they have,” Dekel told the outlet. “The things we did and the things we fought for and the boys that died for it, it’s all gone down the drain.”
“We haven’t got the country we had when I was raised, not at all,” he says. “Nobody will have the fun I had. Nobody will have the opportunity I had. It’s just not the same and that’s not what our boys, that’s not what they died for.”
The statements from Dekel came on the same day the United States lost the last recipient of the World War II Medal of Honor. Hershel “Woody” Williams died on June 29th at age 98, while surrounded by his family at a hospital named after him in his home state of West Virginia.
Williams, who was also a U.S. Marine, received his medal of heroism from former President Harry Truman at the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.
The living U.S. Medal of Honor recipients honored Williams in a statement to Fox News.
“Friends and family of Woody Williams knew him as a West Virginia farmer’s son and the youngest of 11 children who dutifully supported his family after his father died,” they wrote in a statement on behalf of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “Fellow Marines knew him as the corporal who volunteered for a mission on Iwo Jima to clear a lane through enemy pillboxes that were destroying American tanks.”
“Veterans in West Virginia knew him as their advocate through his work as a Veterans Service Representative. Gold Star families knew Woody through his work raising money for scholarships and other programs through the Woody Williams Foundation,” they continued. “We, his fellow Medal of Honor Recipients, knew him as our friend and one of our heroes. We will miss him greatly.”
Williams reflected Dekel’s sense of loss in an interview on Memorial Day, noting to local media that he was hoping to see some resurgence of patriotism in the United States.
“I’ve been at this probably 25 to 30 times, but I believe today we had more honor wreaths than we’ve ever had before, and that’s encouraging,” Williams declared to WSAZ during a veterans’ event. “It gives me encouragement that we’re coming back and that we will again be that United States of America that had so much patriotism and love of country.”