Ernie Purath was a little camera-shy and opted not to be included in our accompanying roll call video, but having served in the Pacific in post-World War II, he had plenty of insights and crystal-clear recollections to share about his experience as a crew chief in the U.S. Air Force.
Purath's military career spanned seven years from 1946 to 1953 during which time he said he traveled to "every island in the Pacific." His journey began from San Francisco and took him to Tarawa before he headed to Peleliu, then to Iwo Jima and then to Leyte in the Philippines where he stayed for several months, he recalled. He chuckled as he shared a memory of one random assignment to Guam during which he unexpectedly ran into his brother in a coffee shop.
Originally from Minnesota, Purath has been an Enumclaw resident for almost 30 years.
He was one of about 20 veterans who gathered at the Enumclaw Senior Activity Center Thursday for an early celebration of Veteran's Day.
Representatives from the local were also in attendance.
The veterans heard a reading of the famous poem 'In Flanders Field' before their lunch commenced. (You can watch the recitation in a second video accompanying this story.)
Live musical entertainment was provided by Tom Brooks.