WWII veteran reflects on 75th anniversary of the end of the war

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 10:30 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - If you’d asked him a year ago, Bob McGranaghan would’ve told you he planned to be in Hawaii for the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. But the Coronavirus pandemic hit. So instead, flanked by his family, Bob watched the ceremony online from the comfort of his son’s kitchen.

He’d planned to go to Hawaii with about 75 family members. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, only WWII veterans who live in Hawaii were allowed to attend in person. So instead of a trip to Hawaii, it was a trip down memory lane as Bob shared stories with his family and reflected on his time in the service.

Bob was 17 when he joined the Navy and was stationed aboard the USS Nicholas, a destroyer.

Bob McGranaghan poses in his Navy uniform
Bob McGranaghan poses in his Navy uniform(Bob McGranaghan)

“I was overseas 32 months, on the same ship, we were in 12 major battles,” said Bob McGranaghan. “Somebody’s gonna get killed and you do everything you can to make sure it ain’t you.”

Bob’s family says his invite to the commemoration came because of one moment 75 years ago.

When Bob was 19-years-old, he was chosen to escort a Russian general onto the USS Missouri where the Japanese formally surrendered to the Allies.

“I was a Seamen 1st Class, so I was nobody, and the officer of the day sees this Russian general and he says ‘you,’ pointed at me, ’take care of him,” remembers Bob.

He had a front row sear to the treaty signing that ended the war. Seventy-five years later, with a front row seat to the online ceremony, Bob and and his family celebrated a salute to service as they watched his name and picture flash on the TV screen.

“As he was watching his name being called and shipmates that he knew, he was getting a little teary eyed because it takes him back to a different world,” said his oldest son, Bob.

Bob McGranaghan poses with a younger photo of himself
Bob McGranaghan poses with a younger photo of himself(Bob McGranaghan)

The family is proud of their patriarch - Bob says he’s the rock that holds the family together. He calls his father a hero.

“The ones who didn’t get home are the heroes,” said Bob McGranaghan. “I’m fortunate to have not only achieved getting home alive, and at my age still being around.”

While Bob and his family are saddened they couldn’t go to Hawaii this year, they hope to plan a trip in the future.

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