Courtesy Mystic, Conn.
Despite their decline, World War II reunions have not disappeared entirely.
The size of World War II reunions aboard the Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach, Calif., has been shrinking for a decade, said Quentin Roberts, director of sales for the Queen Mary.
“Ten years ago, we’d have 110 rooms at peak; now, we’ll have 30 to 40 on peak, but that will include people traveling with the veterans, like their caretakers and their kids.”
As WWII veterans have aged, more of their family members have started attending WWII gatherings with them. And as the soldiers pass away, their ancestors often maintain their traditions.
“A number of World War II organizations are being carried on by their relatives,” said Gilpin.
A Pearl Harbor survivors reunion has become a reunion for the children of Pearl Harbor survivors.
“Direct relatives are keeping it alive and carrying on the tradition,” said Roberts. “But they are not doing it with the same enthusiasm, and they are a much smaller group.”