To commemorate the anniversary of D-Day this year, a group of post-9/11 veterans teamed with fifth graders to help spruce up the National WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. as members of the Greatest Generation looked on.

Call it cross-generational community building. Monday's event, organized by Got Your 6, was as much about landscape and repair work as it was about bringing different age groups together to reflect on what military service means for both veterans and the country.

"For me, as a Iraq War veteran, it's important that we honor the veterans before us," said Bill Rausch, executive director of Got Your 6. "And for our team, we can't think of a better way of honoring their legacy than by serving our communities and setting an example."

The event brought together more than 100 volunteers from a cross section of veterans groups and about 50 fifth graders from nearby Georgetown Day School.

Teachers said those students spent most of the year learning about military operations through American history, from the Revolutionary War to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Working alongside several generations of veterans made for a logical closing lesson.

Monday marked the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, one of the most pivotal points of American involvement in World War II, but also one of the deadliest in U.S. history. Fewer than 1.1 million U.S. veterans from that war are still alive today.

Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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