5 Unexpected Life Lessons from World War II Veterans You Need to Hear

WWII Veteran David White

I don’t know about you but I could listen to the stories of Australia’s World War II Veterans all day.  In fact, some days I do.  However, one of the unexpected consequences of interviewing the Veterans is the simplicity they bring to their views on life and living. 

Below are 5 powerful lessons learnt from interviewing our World War II Veterans.

Be Humble

Each Veteran’s personality is as unique as their stories. But one of the traits I have noticed across the board is the humility with which they tell their stories.  From my perspective they are akin to heroes demonstrating great courage and sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today, but as far as they are concerned, they were just fulfilling their civic duty.  In a world inundated with self-promotion, this makes for a refreshing change.

Give Back to the Community

Many of our Veterans credit being actively involved within their Community throughout their lives for giving them a real sense of purpose and pride. Giving time, money, energy and ideas to help make the community better has in turn made their lives happier.

“Do the best you can for your country and your people” – Flight Sergeant Richard Martin

Collect Moments not Things

Of the many interviews conducted so far, the Veterans rarely mention material possessions.

So many of their stories revolve around experiences (both good and bad) and the people they have shared parts of their life with.  They talk about those they have disliked, those they have loved and those they have lost. In the end, it is the connections, the adventures, the moments that truly mattered, not the things. 

Life is Fleeting

Many of us would perhaps argue living to 100 represents a long life. But for the Veterans it doesn’t feel this way.  Time passes all too quickly as we get lost in the daily grind.  Some of the suggestions from our Veterans include:

  • Make time for adventures & experiences
  • Allow yourself to have fun
  • Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks
  • Slow down and enjoy the here and now
  • If given the choice between money and time, always choose time

Resilience is Created through Hardship

We all know some people that never quit when the going gets tough. The people who just seem to come out on top after the most terrible experiences.  After hearing the stories of our Veterans, I am amazed by how much gratitude and appreciation they have for life. They are resilient. They have been through hell and in doing so can now appreciate the wonders in life that other may take for granted.  They know they can get through anything if they just keep going.

To watch the full documentary interviews of our Veterans, head over to our Youtube Channel.

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