Soldiers Recall the Ways of War

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Joseph Robertson, at left with his son-in-law, John Fish, Jr., served in the Army for 26 years.

Joseph Robertson, at left with his son-in-law, John Fish, Jr., served in the Army for 26 years. StoryCorps hide caption

itoggle caption StoryCorps
At 50, Hector Vega is an active member of the National Guard.

At 50, Hector Vega is an active member of the National Guard. His wife, Leopoldina, came to the United States from the Dominican Republic. StoryCorps hide caption

itoggle caption StoryCorps

Veteran's Day is a chance for Americans to remember those who have fought for their country. It's also a chance for veterans to recall their service — the sacrifices, the dangers — and how it changed their lives.

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To mark the holiday once known as Armistice Day, the StoryCorps oral history project offers first-person stories from two soldiers — and two wars.

Joseph Robertson, 86, fought with the 30th Infantry Division in Europe during World War II. Having joined the National Guard in 1935, he made a career of military service until his retirement in 1961.

But as he tells his son-in-law, John Fish, Jr., it was in Belgium at the Battle of the Bulge that Robertson killed a young man he'll always remember. Robertson and Fish spoke at a StoryCorps mobile booth in Columbus, Ohio.

Sgt. Hector Vega is a recent veteran of the war in Iraq. He served four months in Iraq before he was injured and sent back to the United States. Recently, he and his wife, Leopoldina, remembered his surprising return home to New York's Bronx borough, where he was born and raised.

Due to Vega's medical status, he has been released into the National Guard as an active member at age 50.

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