19 Heartwarming Photographs Of U.S. Veterans, Then And Now

Guaranteed to make you smile!

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5. Willie Hazelrig, Montford Marines, World War ll

Then: 1942

Now: 2012

Willie Hazelrig served with the Montford Marines, the first black Marine unit. In August 2012 he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor.

7. Betty Miller, U.S. Air Force, Vietnam War

Annie Knox / AP

Then: 1963

Now: 2013

In this photo, Betty Miller is holding an image of herself in 1963: President John F. Kennedy presenting her with a gold service medal. It was given to her from the Federal Aviation Administration for being the first woman to fly solo across the pacific—from Oakland, California to Brisbane, Australia.

9. Grace Aiko Amemiya, U.S. Cadet Nurse Corp, World War ll

Paul Sakuma / AP

Then: 1944

Now: 2009

Here, Grace Aiko Amemiya smiles during a ceremony at UCSF, where she received an honorary degree after the Japanese internment of WWll.

12. George Hickman, Tuskegee Airmen, U.S. Air Force, World War ll

Elaine Thompson / AP

Then: 1942

Now: 2012

George Hickman was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators in the US military.

13. John Hovan, U.S. Navy, World War ll

Stew Milne / AP

Then: 1942

Now: 2010

John Hovan is holding a photo of himself taken in 1942, when he served in the U.S. Navy during World War ll. Before that he volunteered in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War, one of the few Americans still alive to do so.

15. PFC Alejandro Ruiz, U.S. Army, World War ll

Then: 1945

Now: 2007

Alejandro Ruiz was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1946: On April 28, 1945 in Okinawa’s Ryukyu Islands, his squad fell under attack. PFC Ruiz managed to acquire an automatic rifle, running through grenades and machine gunfire. When attacked by an enemy solider, his rifle jammed, and he clubbed the assailant. Later, while running through bullets and grenades, he killed 12 enemy soldiers and ended the firefight, saving his entire squad.

16. Sgt. Riley A. McCray and Cpl. Lynn L. Williams, Montford Point Marines, World War ll

Then: 1942

Now: 2012

The two marines were among the 22,000 African-American to serve in the Corps between 1942 and 1949 during racism and segregation.

17. Radioman 2nd Class Harrison D. Miller, U.S. Air Force, World War ll

Then: 1944

Now: 2013

Harrison D. Miller received the Distinguished Flying Cross when completing a successful water landing after the plane he was in came under enemy fire and the pilot became mortally wounded.

19. Fighter Pilot Jerry Yellin and Nurse Gloria Bullard, U.S. Navy, World War ll

EMMANUEL DUNAND / Getty Images

Then: 1943

Now: 2013

Recreating the famous Victor Jorgensen photo, "The Kiss," on VJ-Day, 45 years later!

Add photos of your veteran relatives in the comments!