YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Memorial Day is always a solemn day for a Cornersburg World War II Veteran.
Vince Poluse, 95, is the only veteran from his Army regiment still living. He shared some stories about serving overseas with men from Youngstown and what Memorial Day means to him.
He can tell lots of stories about serving in the Philippines during World War II. Some are funny, while others are a reminder of what war is.
Poluse puts on his Army uniform every Memorial Day.
“You think of all your guys, buddies that are gone,” Poluse said.
He was 21 years old when he was sent to the Philippines as a member of the 145th Infantry.
Poluse was thousands of miles away from the Brier Hill neighborhood he grew up in, but had a lot of Youngstown reminders overseas.
“The whole crew was from Youngstown. See, that was the National Guard outfit,” Poluse said.
He saw a lot of combat, especially with Japanese forces.
“They were brutal. They just keep coming, 15,000 hit us at one time in the rain storm,” Poluse said.
He and Anthony Cope like to swap Army stories.
“It is Uncle Vince to me,” Cope said.
Poluse is a hero to Cope.
“He earned a Bronze Star, which in World War II is pretty tough,” Cope said.
Poluse also served in the Honor Guard and got to keep the 1903 Springfield he used to do 21-gun salutes.
“It is actually a World War I weapon,” Cope said.
For Poluse and and Cope, Memorial Day is not about cookouts. It is about remembering the sacrifices so many have made so we can live free. It’s one of the reasons Poluse still proudly wears his uniform.
“We are pretty proud of him,” Cope said.