NEW PALTZ, N.Y. --- Many veterans from World War II at Woodland Pond in New Paltz are in their 90's and still remember stories from their time of service. Robert Jagoda was drafted into the US Army at 19.
He was an infantry solider and was captured by the Germans on his second night in Italy and spent 16 months as a prisoner of war.
“My squad was hidden in a cow barn and we were in the throws sleeping and they mounted a heavy machine gun on one side and another on the other side, we got up to go outside and there were just Germans everywhere,” Jagoda said. “They literally set a trap for us.”
Al Becker was armed guard for the Navy and during WWII his ship came under attack from foreign submarines.
“Our ship was carrying barrel gasoline and ammunition” he said.
After the attack he and other crew members managed to get on a lifeboat and were stranded in the Atlantic.
“We were facing death from sun up to sun down for 45 days,” Becker said.
Becker said he and the other men on the boat tried to grab the attention of other ships in the area for help.
“Nobody is going to stop out there and pick you out of a lifeboat and get themselves blown out of the water,” he added.
Becker said the Navy sent a telegram to his family stating he was missing. He added it wasn't until he headed home and called for someone to pick him up that they knew he was alive.
“I phone home to have someone meet me at 2 o'clock in the morning. This is the first time I talked to them and the first time I heard that they had my funeral 3 days prior,” Becker said.
Dr. Paul Lurie said his experience in WWII was a little different than others.
“I never saw any blood in all that time. I read war and peace, I played chess,” Lurie said.
Dr. Lurie was immediately sent to India after he completed his medical pediatric internship.
“We were taught in six weeks how to be army doctors,” said Lurie. “I was a lucky fellow. I was in an interesting part of the world, in an interesting group. It wasn’t dangerous. My particular job was boring.”
The veterans say that each year they get to remember how lucky they are to have made it home.
“I did my part and I didn’t mind doing it,” Becker said.