Navy Veteran of WWII Chooses Marriage Over Memorial

Former Navy veteran Jerry Thomas was one among dozens to receive an invitation to Washington in memorial of his WWII service. Unfortunately, the April 5th excursion shared a date with the seventieth anniversary of his wedding. Thomas immediately made his choice to honor his wife rather than the war. As far as the Navy veteran is concerned, there was really no question in the matter.

Jerry Thomas is 92 years old, and his wife Rosemary is 94. While their marriage has remained strong for seventy years now, he is running out of time with her as her memories are being eaten up by disease. The Navy veteran and his wife are not particularly active, but they do spend a great deal of time with one another in a home designed by Rosemary herself. Thomas does his best to keep high spirits and remember the times they spent together in their younger days, before her disease began to take over.

Rosemary does not talk much, but apparently once she begins she does not quickly stop. Thomas enjoys these moments and has to make the most of them. They still have their own routines, including watching the nightly news over finger foods. The Navy veteran enjoys speaking of their more active days, but he still enjoys this relatively slower lifestyle, so long as he is able to keep spending time with his ailing wife, the Stars and Stripes reports.

Thomas and Rosemary met the year before they were married. They met in college, where Thomas was undergoing diesel training. He asked for her hand mere days before he had to leave California, and the Navy veteran saw himself married just shortly before he shipped out to take part in the Second World War. He took part in many bloody battles during the war, including the invasion of Okinawa, but ultimately he was overjoyed at the chance to return home to his new wife.

The Navy veteran has led a long and full life, and he appears to regret very little of it. While sometimes his memories of the war troubled him, he was able to move on and raise a large family with nine offspring. Now, his life is much quieter, as the kids are out of the house and his wife frequently sits by the window, staring. For their anniversary, the Navy veteran and his wife were able to spend time with the family including grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He did not feel for a second like he had made the wrong choice by not attending his honorary trip to D.C.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE