The Face of War: The Story of a WW2 vet | Teen Ink

The Face of War: The Story of a WW2 vet

May 31, 2019
By clinehan BRONZE, Atascadero, California
clinehan BRONZE, Atascadero, California
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

His motto to life is, “Life is hurt, I have seen and done things I am not proud of. But I have managed to live through them all.” The 95-year old World War 2 veteran, Joe Raiti, or granddad to some, lived through the Great Depression, served in World War 2, and served in the Vietnam war. It has taken Joe most of his life to face the fact that what he did was for the better.

Joe Raiti was born in Dallas, Texas, 1923, to a beautiful mother named Julia and a father named Joseph G. Raiti. Joe doesn’t remember much of his mother or father but he does remember that his mother was “The most beautiful women I have ever seen” as he says.

When Joe was in grade school he always dreamed of being a pilot. But, like most, you cannot become a pilot at age 10. So, while he waited to become a pilot he got his first job at a candy store. He liked where he worked, but he never wanted to leave his brother behind. Joe had to support his little brother, Lee “Cotton” Grant Gunther, and himself because his mother and father left during the depression. Joe didn’t want to be separated from his brother so he found a place for them to live.

Years went by and in 1941, Joe Raiti, had joined the Air Force. Joe says he joined the Air Force because, “I knew there had to be something done. People were dying, and I couldn’t sit around and do nothing. So I did what every guy my age did. I joined the military. We all had to get revenge for what the Japanese did.” Cotton begged Joe to not leave him behind, he wanted him to stay. He was afraid he would die during combat.  

1943, Raiti has gone through pilot school, and was going to war. “I was 20-years old, so I had no care in the world for what I was doing. I was scared though, I didn’t want to leave Lee by himself.” Raiti flew a Boeing B29 airplane when he served in World War 2. “When I got into my plane for the first time, I felt like I was on top of the world. I felt unstoppable. I mean, I was a fighter pilot for the best country in the world. So, I was pretty darn close to being on top of the world.” Joe says.

When Joe fought in WW2 he fought a mix of everything. The Nazis, the Japanese, and the Italians. Joe says he wasn't in the war for long enough. He wishes he would have joined earlier and saved more lives. “I only fought for a year, while some of my buddies fought the rest of the war. I watched my friends die and I killed people. After the war I felt like I couldn’t live with myself anymore. But I realized that what I did was for the better.”

The 95-year old veteran, Joe Raiti is now happy with his life and is glad he fought when he could. He keeps in contact with his remaining buddies that he fought with, and tells his war stories to everyone. Joe Raiti is a man who has faced many adversaries but has conquered them all. He is an old face of war.

The author's comments:

My great grandfather has lived a full and prosperus life. He is happily married to his second wife, Sandy. Joe Ratti brings hope to society and wishes he could be around longer to watch the world grow even more. He has seen the advancement of technology and is leaving a big impactment 

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