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Married WWII Veterans honored before fireworks show

A flag presentation ceremony, a fitting tribute for a Saginaw couple who both served during the Second World War....

Posted: Jul 6, 2018 1:31 PM
Updated: Jul 6, 2018 1:31 PM

A flag presentation ceremony, a fitting tribute for a Saginaw couple who both served during the Second World War.

"People that were injured, we were bringing back to rehab , getting them back to the state of living," said Wilma Littlefield Wolpert. "It was wonderful, I loved it."

The year was 1944, when this young nurse at Bethesda Naval Hospital was charged with the care of then-General Eisenhower.

"I happened to be on duty," she explained,"and he had pneumonia, and couldn't make it to Walter Reed, so he came to Bethesda and I got him."

She said she was so nervous she almost had a break-down, but the General quickly put her at ease.

"He took hold of me and said, 'young lady, tell me about yourself, I want to know about you, you don't need to know about me,'" she said. "That was one of my greatest experiences."

After making it through boot camp at Hunter College in New York, she cared for the injured and sick during the war at the Naval Hospital for three years.

She's now 95, and said that experience gave her life direction.

She ended moving to Saginaw and running her own business, a beauty salon, for sixty-three years, marrying twice and raising two children.

Decades later, she was a widow when she flew to Las Vegas to marry Ralph Wolpert, a friend she had known for many years.

While they never served together, Wolpert is also a veteran of World War II.

"I did a little bit of everything," said Wolpert during an interview in his Saginaw Township home Wednesday afternoon.

The 97-year old, who actually began his military career in the Marines in 1942 as a rifle range instructor to Hollywood actors, ended up boarding large ships in the Pacific to repair refrigeration units.

"You've heard of Ernie Pyle," he said, "I was within 300 feet of him when he got killed in combat zones."

When asked how he felt about being honored for his service to his country, Wolpert said he was embarrassed.

"I tell you everybody that enlisted went there to do what they could for this country," he said. "I'm very proud of whatever I could do, and glad to survive."

With stories to tell of another era whose impact is not lost on the next generation who lined up to honor he and his wife's service on Wednesday night.

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