Veterans Voices: A living legacy

Good Morning New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO)- “My father was a WWII veteran,” Mike Alexander shared. “He was my hero.”

You could say that Mike Alexander was born to fight.

“I never wanted to do anything else, other than being an army officer,” he said.

Mike Alexander is a retired veteran, now living in New Orleans. When he was a child he decided at a young age that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“So, I did. I was commissioned in December 1970 and (Mike’s father) retired in January ’71, at the same post I reported for duty at,” recalled Alexander. “So, we crossed paths. Him out the door, and me in the door.”

For the past seven years, Alexander has come to the National WWII Museum to volunteer, to give seminars, and to hopefully inspire the next generation.

“The museum is not here to glorify war but, it’s to recognize the sacrifices and courage of men and women all throughout the United States and the world,” Alexander explained.

For Alexander, the museum is a place where he can connect with the living and also learn about the past.

Growing up Alexander didn’t hear many of his father’s war stories.

“Not very many. Every now and then, I’d catch a little glimpse here and there,” he remembered. “Mostly, I would overhear him talking to people in his own unit because he stayed in the military after the war.”

In fact his father, Merrill Alexander or to his friends, ‘Alex,’ served his country for 31 years.

It wasn’t until he started volunteering at the WWII Museum a few years ago, that he started connecting the dots and learned more about what he did during WWII.

Taking us for a tour through the museum, Alexander showed us significant artifacts that connect him to his father. Alexander showed us the 105 mm Howitzer that his father’s artillery battery used during WWII.

With every tour he gives, he has one hope at the end, “… to keep the flame alive. Keep the remembrance, particularly for those who have paid the ultimate price.”

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