83rd Infantry Division Association of WWII holds reunion in Philadelphia

WAYNE, Pa. (WPVI) -- It was a special service at Valley Forge Military Academy on Friday as family and friends gathered for a reunion for the 83rd Infantry Division Association for World War II.

It's the 75th anniversary of their push to liberate Europe from the Nazis.

"Normandy, Northern France, Central Europe and everyone is dead," said World War II Veteran Al Klugiewicz.

Eight veterans were in attendance ranging from age 92 to 103. And yes, there is a secret to living past 100.

"Cigarettes, whiskey and wild women," said 103-year-old Klugiewicz.

The veterans who showed up reflected on the war back in the 1940s and after seeing so many friends pass away, they were thankful to see familiar faces and share stories of combat.

"It means a gathering where we can see people of like kind, that did the same thing we did, and we get together and enjoy ourselves," said World War II veteran Fred Pearson

"I was an infantryman. I fought in the first battle we had in Normandy and that is where I got knocked out. I was lucky I had about three for four days of real battle," said World War II Veteran Wayne Kunkel.

This is not a one-day affair. The 83rd Infantry reunions started back in 1947 and since then, gatherings have been held all across the U.S. Family members who have lost loved ones in the war still show up to pay their respects.

"This is why we are here. It is for that reason and I think they all appreciate it and know it," said John Markuns, Advocate for the 83rd Infantry.

The festivities continue throughout the weekend with family and friends gathering together, pausing and reflecting and saying thank you to these veterans for their service.
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