Since 2006, Tom Sanders has been photographing World War II veterans for his book, “The Last Good War: The Faces and Voices of WW2” (Welcome Books). Some of the subjects are shown with artifacts from their service, like a Nazi flag that was torn off the Reich Chancellery during the 1936 Olympics. “I wanted to make people more aware of our veterans’ sacrifices and help put people’s lives into perspective,” Sanders says.
Sanders describes working on the project below.
“In 2006, I was a 21-year-old college senior worrying about the small things in life. Then I met and photographed World War II veteran Lt. Randall Harris. He showed me a 6-inch scar on the bottom of his stomach and told me his battle story of an S-mine that exploded, spraying his lower abdomen and legs with shrapnel.
“I realized that when Randall was my age, his only goal was to live to the next day. I just couldn’t fathom what that would feel like. I decided right then that I wanted to photograph and document as many WWII vets as I possibly could, to help share and preserve their stories and memories.
“Many of the veterans I photographed have since passed away. It is one of the most difficult parts of this project for me, but it has also been a powerful reminder of why recording their images and memories is so urgently important.
“I hope when people see my photos and read these stories, they become more appreciative of all veterans and soldiers, regardless of rank or service. They have all made sacrifices for our safety and deserve our gratitude and respect.”
Who are the veterans and where did they serve?
Image 1: Bob Watson, European invasion
Image 2: Don Seki, European invasion
Image 3: Roger Moore, Worked on the trigger for the atomic bomb
Image 4: Kathy O'Grady, served stateside
Image 5: Jim Mueller, Pacific
Image 6: Larry Lindlow, European invasion
Image 7: George Gamp, European invasion
Image 8: Angel Adagio, USO performer, served around the world
Image 9: John Jackson, European invasion
Image 10: Louis Zamperini, Pacific
Image 11: Ed Sawicki, European invasion
Image 12: Bob Brown, Pacific
Image 13: James Tobin, Pacific