VENICE, FL. - On this Veterans Day, we pay tribute to World War II veterans, whose numbers are quickly diminishing.
Patriots Park in Venice is a visual reminder of those who serve and served. We want to introduce you to one man who calls Venice home and is seeing the numbers decrease first hand.
At 88-years-old Venice resident Loren Pittman can still remember how he and his comrades changed the world. "I flew 20 combat missions over Nazi Germany."
He was a radio operator aboard a flying fortress. "We were in the old heavy B-17 bomber. In those days it was the Cadillac of the Air Force."
He was awarded three combat medals for his service, and after the war Pittman got involved with law enforcement. "I worked my way up through the ranks and became chief of police."
He became chief for the city of Detroit and later serving as sheriff in the same county where three separate riots which took dozens of lives. "It was the time of the civil rights movement in the south and the opposition to the Vietnam War."
After 40 years of service he and his wife Margaret moved to Venice. "There are not many WWII veterans that can still move around as much as I can. I am still doing a few things for the community."
For the past 25 years, he has served as chaplain of the Venice American Legion, presiding over hundreds of eulogies, watching his friends and the generation often called, “The Greatest”, disappear. "Most of my world war two buddies are beginning to fade away."
After serving his country during a world war and decades serving the peace, this hero among us is most proud of serving his co-pilot in life of nearly seven decades. "She has been a loyal wife and she stood by me during the war. Two kids. Two grandkids. We have had a good life."
We here at ABC 7 would like to thank all veterans for their service.