VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) - It's a generation that's rapidly disappearing.
According to the Veteran's Affairs Office, every day, we lose nearly 740 soldiers who fought in World War II.
On Saturday afternoon, a local museum did its best to remember those service men and women who fought in the last world war.
- LEIGHTON WILLHITE FULL INTERVIEW | Click on the second video to watch
The Indiana Military Museum's grand re-opening was also a grand tribute to those fallen soldiers.
The gun shots from WW II continue to ring, even after the over 70 years that have passed.
Saturday started out with a brief reenactment, which was just a glimpse of the battlefields that shaped the future during WW II.
While the re-enactors gave the Vincennes crowd a realistic look at a WW II battle, men like Leighton Willhite of Rockville fought in the real battles.
"I was scared all the way through on the operation, and I won't lie to anyone and say I wasn't. I was," said Leighton Willhite, World War II veteran.
Willhite was just 19-years-old when he landed on Iwo Jima as a tank driver.
The battle became one of the bloodiest of the war, an event that Willhite can never forget.
"We hit Iwo, and we lost 7,000, killed there, and 19-thousand injured," stated Willhite.
A portrait hung on the wall from that battle: a scene that's etched in the fabric of American history.
It's that place in history, which brought Leighton, and other WW II veterans, to Vincennes on Saturday.
"It just so happens that our opening day coincides with our annual event, which is a salute to the veterans of WW II we have every year in September," said Jim Osborne of the Indiana Military Museum.
Hundreds turned out for the Indiana Military Museum's opening at its new location.
WW II re-enactors stepping back in time to give modern Hoosiers a taste of the ‘40s.
From musical shows, to displays of famous heroes' memorabilia, right down to the tank that Leighton Willhite drove onto Iwo-Jima more than 67 years ago.
For him, it's like seeing an old friend.
"It makes you homesick, like it or not," Willhite said.
For the museum, Leighton and his comrades' sacrifice is what made Saturday's re-opening possible.
Not just for the museum, but for the American way of life.
"We like to give the young people a chance to meet [the veterans] and hear from their experiences of what they went through and to appreciate what they did for us," Osborne stated.
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