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Super Senior: Don Shedd

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 12:06 PM EDT
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WALLINGFORD, Vt. (WCAX) - Outside Don Shedd’s home in Wallingford, there’s a hint of his military past -- a small “Semper Fidelis” sticker on a window. But inside, an album is filled with images from a war long ago.

“We joined the Marines the same day and went overseas,” Shedd said. He was 19 and his two brothers -- Paul, 18, and Bob, 20, -- were determined to serve in World War 2 together. In 1944, the Vermonters went off to battle the Japanese in the Pacific. “Sometimes it seems like it was yesterday. Sometimes it seems like it was a long time ago.”

The 98-year-old struggles to describe what he saw and did. “I’m not much of a talker anyway,” Shedd said. Marine Corporal Donald Shedd of A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, saw the horrors of war. “I saw many other fellas either wounded or killed.”

Both Paul and Bob were injured in battle. At the island of Peleliu, Shedd was hit by shrapnel in his ankle. “We each got wounded and we each came home,” Shedd said.

The three were lucky. His buddy, Sgt. Norbert Rowan, wasn’t so fortunate. Shedd was only a few feet away when an enemy shell hit Rowan. “I carry this ever since he was killed,” said Shedd, showing the prayer card he keeps. It’s not just for Rowan, but to all who gave the ultimate sacrifice. “Just to remember the many others that died.”

But like so many from “the greatest generation,” after the war, they moved on. “We just came home and went to work,” Shedd said. The war became a memory and his uniform went into the closet.

“I couldn’t tell you the first time I saw it, but it wasn’t as a little kid, at least that I remember,” said Brad, Shedd’s son. He knew very little about the war growing up. “Never talked about it, no.”

No words, but subtle actions gave hints of what his dad witnessed and endured.

Brad Shedd: You never got into hunting much did you?

Don Shedd: No.

Brad Shedd: Why was that?

Don Shedd: I guess I had enough guns.

And then when the family was visiting Shedd’s brother, Paul, a documentary on the war came on the TV. The brothers in arms were transfixed. “At one point, you two looked at each other and saluted,” Brad said.

Shedd doesn’t think he’s a hero. Just a man, like so many, who served his country.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You just did your job, right?

Don Shedd: That’s right.

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