WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (WTNH)– Since the revolution, over 1.5 million Connecticut residents have served in our nation’s wars. There are over a quarter of million living Connecticut residents that are veterans now, and at least 6,000 are expected back from the recent war zones within the next several months.
Tuesday, Wethersfield, which calls itself Connecticut’s oldest town, honored one of the state’s oldest veterans, 97-year-old Herb Philbrick.
“This reminds people of what was experienced in our history,” said Philbrick.
Seventy years ago, Philbrick was a chief machinist on a U.S. Navy battlefield repair ship in the South Pacific. A theater of World War II where thousands of Americans died.
“In the Pacific, that was a long time, two-and-a-half years out there,” said Philbrick. “The weather wasn’t the best, it was hot and everyday was a surprise you might say.”
For most veterans of combat, no matter how long ago, the memories never fade. Philbrick is one of the ones willing to talk about it.
“When a bomb goes off aboard a ship, it tears a body apart,” said Philbrick. “It’s not a bloody scene, it’s a messy scene, the body is torn apart with no signs of blood. I’ve seen that so many times, it’s an experience you never forget. Once you’ve seen it, it’ll be with you for a lifetime. That’s why when they say to me, ‘I forgot about the war,’ I don’t see how you can.”
Philbrick says to those coming back, get to school, get the help you need do your best.