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Recent protests troubling for local World War II vets

Bob Mazany (left) and Bill Jones, both veterans of World War II, speak to KATU's Nate Bynum about the recent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. (KATU Photo)

Bill Jones and Bob Mazany each served in the U.S. military in World War II and each is troubled by the recent violence surrounding protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"I just think it’s a lack of knowledge of the history of this country, of what went on before and why," said Jones at The American Legion Aloha Post 104.

"It’s got to stop. We’ve got to be united, we’ve got to be together, this divides us, things like this, pulls us apart," said Jones.

The conflict was sparked when white nationalists and counter-protesters clashed in Charlottesville Saturday, resulting in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer when a car crashed into a crowd.

"I just don’t like what’s going on. I’m afraid at 90, and he’s 94," said Mazany.

The presence of Nazi flags at the protests was an all too familiar sight for these veterans.

"The people, a lot of them, I think, that’s doing it don’t even realize what they’re doing and why. They’re following the leader like a bunch of lambs," Jones said.

Both of these men believe unity can come from people having a better understanding of America's history and by listening to each other.

"Respect for the flag, respect for each other, respect for the country, and respect for other people’s views, and I think that means a whole lot. You’ve got to listen and learn," Jones said.

"Tolerance and acceptance. When we bring those words back into the dictionary, we and the rest of the world will be better off, " said Mazany.

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