Onondaga County did its part to keep the Spirit of ‘45 alive Friday with a day of festivities marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War two. Officials kicked things off with the unveiling of a new 10-photo display at the War Memorial that will be available until August of 2016. U.S. Army Air Corps veteran Ed Zaluski of Cicero was there, and says his journey began when he was a teenager in 1943.
" I wanted to go in when I was 17, but they wouldn't take me. My grandmother wouldn't sign, so I had to wait till I was 18. In the meantime I went back to school, North Air Defense Training Command, I started going there working on engines. I wanted to be a mechanic, which eventually I did."
The men and women who serve our country often return with stories for the ages. Pictures might be a starting point, but Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says she values the importance of veterans being able to give firsthand accounts, which won’t be the case when they’re no longer here.
That in mind, Zaluski says it really came down to just one thing out on the battlefield.
"All these pictures are true. There is no reason why they would say 'that guy died for this or that.' They died for a reason for the Japanese, they just wanted us all dead. But it is just luck, everything you do in war cause you are out to kill each other is just luck."
Friday's celebration continued with a self-guided tours of veteran displays including the new photos, an ice cream social and a 40’s themed party at Everson Plaza.
PHOTOS IN THE NEW WWII DISPLAY
Available to the public from now until August 2016.
The pictures include the following:
Battle of Guadalcanal (August 7, 1942 - February 9, 1943)
Battle of Iwo Jima (February 19 - March 26, 1945)
D-Day Normandy Invasion (June 6, 1944)
Doolittle's Raid (April 18, 1942)
Invasion of Saipan (June 15 - July 9, 1944)
United States Army Corps (1941-1945)
United States Army (1941 - 1945)
United States Coast Guard (1941 - 1945)
United States Nave Seabees (1941 - 1945)