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"We are ready to pass the torch to the next generation"

by Manuel Toledo - November 30, 2006

Testimonial from Manuel Toledo, World War II Veteran

Dear Citizens of America,

Manuel Toledo and his daughter Yvonne Toledo show awards received at the annual Tribute to Service program held Nov 4, 2006 at the Galaxy Theatre in Tulare, CA. 

As a soldier in World War II, I experienced the frozen Aleutian Islands, the heavy combat of Leyte, the bone-chilling banzai attacks, and the loss of some of my best friends. My experience is not unique – all of us lucky enough to come home from that war came back remembering the names and faces of those who gave their all. We came home with a debt to repay, with a commitment to continue our service as civilians, in honor of all of those who paid the ultimate price for a freedom that they never had a chance to enjoy.

When I returned home from the war, I became involved with several veterans groups to fight for veterans’ rights and benefits. I helped form the Tulare AMVETS Post 56 with 30 charter members – a post that has now grown to more than 2500 members. During the last 60 years, these men and women have become a family to me. Of the 30 charter members of AMVETS Post 56, only two of us are still around today to tell our stories. Our family grows smaller every day, in Tulare, and across the country.

When I first heard about Stories of Service, I realized that this project provides a vehicle for all of us from the Greatest Generation to keep this legacy alive - for future generations of Americans to discover and understand. This project provided me the opportunity to connect with the young people of the 21st century, to share my experiences in my own words, and to contribute the lessons that I have learned, with the hope that this next generation and future generations can reflect on my experiences and find some simple truths that are relevant in their own lives, today, many years from now.

I am excited to be a part of this extremely worthwhile project, and proud that the AMVETS California Service Foundation has taken the lead in sponsoring this project in the state of California. I urge other veterans, of all eras, to come forward and share your experiences with the members of your community through Stories of Service. I call upon other veteran organizations to partner with Stories of Service, and help this important project to succeed in other states throughout the country, as it has in California. Finally, I call upon all generations of Americans to give your time for those who have given and given again.

Every day, in communities across the country, another veteran falls silent, and another important perspective on war, and on life, is lost. We are ready to pass the torch to the next generation of Americans – with your help it can burn brightly, forever. Please, whether veteran or civilian, whether young or old…help us to save these Stories of Service.


Manuel Toledo

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Two Families

Manuel Toledo lives through bitter combat from the Aleutian Islands to Leyte in WWII.

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