Writer\u00a0 \/\u00a0 Ray Compton\u00a0 .\u00a0 Photographer\u00a0 \/\u00a0 JJ Kaplan If you combine the ages of these three World War II veterans, you arrive at a staggering number. They have piled up an inspiring 284 years of life. Or maybe we should hike the total years of life to 284.5 years. The eldest member of the distinguished trio, Warren Englehardt, 102, proudly insists that he has eclipsed the 102 and one-half age plateau. Either number impressively stands out for the threesome of Englehardt, Charles Hallagan, 92, and Frank Bertalon, 90, who are now battling another challenge in their lives: aging. Indeed, Englehardt, Hallagan and Bertalon could be the poster children of the country\u2019s Greatest Generation. Having survived the zealous antics of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo, the three are now in the twilight of their lives at the American Senior Community\u2019s Zionsville Meadows. But each has aged with distinct appreciation for where he has been and where he is today. \u201cWe were all lucky to come back in one piece,\u201d said Hallagan, who was in a combat regiment in the North African, Italian and southern French theatres. And they are fortunate to be members of a dwindling club \u2013 former World War II servicemen who are still living. Of the 16 million American service personnel who served in the global conflict in Europe, northern Africa and the Pacific, less than 800,000 remain. The median age is 92, and over 500 die each day. Just 30 years ago, there were over 10 million survivors. Thus, there has been a strong rush by central Indiana supporters and sponsors of the Indy Honor Flight program that takes veterans and guardians to visit Washington, D.C., the World War II monument and other patriotic sites. Englehardt, Hallagan and Bertalon were among 200 veterans who were part of the April journey. \u201cThese men and women are walking history books,\u201d noted volunteer Carolyn Schmidt to WTHR after the trip. \u201cIt\u2019s really such as honor to be with them. Once you are there and see their faces, it is priceless. These men really sacrificed for us. The least we can do is spend a day with them and make a trip of a lifetime.\u201d All three echoed their gratefulness for the voyage to Washington, D.C. \u201cIt was something,\u201d said Bertalon, a former real estate agent on the west side of Indianapolis. \u201cIt was fast and furious. We were all over the place.\u201d The stops included Arlington National Cemetery, where Bertalon, a Navy veteran in the Pacific War, remember poignantly that there were \u201cacres and acres\u201d of gravestones dedicated to fallen United States servicemen. For Englehardt, the trip was an exclamation mark to his military career. He served in the 565th Signal Company 65th Infantry Division. The division saw 55 days of combat in the Rhineland and central Europe branch. The Americans suffered 2,412 casualties and 261 deaths during those battlefield days. \u201cI shot at Germans, and Germans shot at me,\u201d said Englehardt, an Indianapolis Tech graduate who was a television technician in his second chapter of life. \u201cI think I did something to help the cause.\u201d He, too, was impressed with the tour of Washington, D.C. \u201cI was very happy,\u201d he said. \u201cI didn\u2019t think I would get to see those things." Due to a political decision by the Americans and British, Englehardt and his division weren\u2019t part of the final Nazi defeat in Berlin (the Russians were the authors of that last chapter of fighting). However, his group did get an upfront view of an iconic Nazi landmark. They arrived at Hitler\u2019s vacation home, the Berghof in the Bavarian Alps, after British bombers blasted the building and area. Hitler used the setting to host his partner, Eva Braun, and meet with compatriots such as Albert Speer, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels. World leaders such as Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain met with Hitler at the spacious and luxurious Berghof prior to the war. Englehardt saw a shattered site. \u201cThe windows were blown out,\u201d he recalled. \u201cThe Nazis tried to burn it down, but it was still there.\u201d For Hallagan, who retired from L.S. Ayres after a long career, said returning to Germany as a tourist and father was a major part of his recovery from the war. He has visited Germany five times. \u201cI love Germany,\u201d said Hallagan, whose son was stationed in Germany during his military service. \u201cThe people are fabulous.\u201d But on one trip to Germany, Hallagan had to pass on one side trip. He travels to Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart and the Rhineland were exceptional for the veteran. But he declined an opportunity to tour the Dachau concentration camp where over 30,000 prisoners perished under the ruthless Nazi rule. His first visit to the camp was in 1945, just two days after the Allies had liberated the site. \u201cI just couldn\u2019t go through it,\u201d admitted Hallagan. Sadly, Hallagan sees some of the same challenges in today\u2019s world. He worries that the Muslim radical group ISIS is taking the same footsteps that Germany and Japan did over 70 years ago. \u201cIf we don\u2019t stop them, it will be terrible,\u201d stated the veteran. \u201cThey have no sense for life.\u201d For Englehardt, Hallagan and Bertalon, there is a great appreciation of life after living seven decades since facing death in war.