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About 18 months ago, Miller went into his attic and pulled down a map with dotted lines documenting the routes his unit traveled across Europe, including the towns where they moved prisoners of war.
“I’ve lived here all my life and I had never seen it,” marveled Peg. “This is where we took the prisoners of war? What?”
His willingness to share resonated with the younger generation, too. Recently, one of his grandkids saw Miller’s photograph hanging at the VFW. “That’s my grandpa,” he said proudly.
In 2010, there were just six men left in the Canby Last Man Company. Two died that year, then one each in 2012 and 2013. When Miller and Hentges, his chum from childhood, met a year ago, they decided to donate the bottle of wine to the Canby VFW. It now hangs above a binder documenting 67 years of membership logs.
Similar Last Man groups share Canby’s struggle. Stillwater’s WWII Last Man Club has combined with another group of Stillwater men who served in Korea. Rochester’s WWII Last Man Club disbanded in 2013.
Elaine always told her husband that he’d be the last man.
“Only the good die young,” she said from her chair in the couple’s living room. Then she smiled.
“He’s a tough guy.”
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