Not “I” but “we.”
Those are words to live by for one World War 2 veteran when reflecting on how he survived the conflict, and life, nearly 80 years after.
Retired Army Major Anthony Grant, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, shared some of his experiences, and secrets of success, with Don Roberts.
“I am doing great. It is a wonderful afternoon.”
That positive attitude and a sharp memory, have been hallmarks of Mr. Anthony Grant of Hampton.
He was 21, living in New York’s Harlem borough when he received a notice from Uncle Sam.
“I was working as a printers’ apprentice, eventually I wanted to become a journalist,” says Grant.
Grant was born in New York, but spent most of his early years in Saint Lucia.
Shortly after returning, he was drafted.
“I realized that once I got in the Army, my life would change forever,” says Grant.
Grant trained at the Army’s Fort Dix, New Jersey and Fort Lee in Petersburg Virginia.
That’s where he got his first real dose of racism in the Armed Forces.
“There’s a town called Grenada, Mississippi and I was in the camp near the base for 6 months. And I went in town only twice,” says Grant.
Grant, like many blacks in World War 2, were assigned to the Quartermaster Corp, loading, storing, delivering supplies to troops on the front line.
And, in June of 1944, those Front Lines were Normandy, France, days after a massive allied attack, known as D-Day.
“Within the beach itself, it was complete chaos, burned equipment,” says Grant.
And as the combat troops pushed forward toward Germany, that when Grant’s troops came under fire.
“I’ve been shot at, and in turn I shot my weapon,” says Grant.
After the war, Grant moved up the ranks in the Quatermaster Corp while serving all over Europe, Korea, Japan.
He retired after 20 years with the rank of “major” in 1963.
“You’ve reached the ripe of 100. Do you have a secret for longevity?”
“Have a positive mind – have a positive mind. Things will get better tomorrow.”