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World War II veteran celebrates 75 years of marriage with his wife

Posted at 12:14 PM, Jul 06, 2023

MERIDIAN, Idaho — As America rings in 247 years of independence, a World War II veteran is celebrating his 75th wedding anniversary with his wife.

Dan and Bette Heintz, who live in Meridian, Idaho, married in 1948, a few years after the end of the Second World War.

“We met at a dance in Michigan City, [Indiana],” said Dan.

His wife Bette recalls the days following their first encounter: “After we had met on a Saturday, the following Monday at work I told all my friends, 'I met the man I’m gonna marry. 'They said ‘Oh you’re kidding,’ I said. ‘No, I’m not.’ And I did," said Bette.

When asked if they picked the day before Independence Day for their wedding date, Dan and Bette felt there was no strong correlation, they just wanted to be together.

“I didn’t even think about it,” says Bette, “We were in a world of our own.”

Dan says he enlisted in the Navy and worked as a gunner and cook on an amphibious ship. A majority of the time his ship was in the Philippines.

“Yeah, Leyte, the second one. They had two Leyte battles, I was in the second one,” said Dan.

Serving in the military became a family affair when the eldest son of Dan and Bette joined the Marines and another son served in the Navy.

“I went overseas and spent a year in Okinawa,” said their son Darryl Heintz. “Oh I’d do it again, the Marine Corp taught me a lot of things, met a lot of good friends.”

Darryl traveled from San Diego to celebrate this milestone with his family.

“To be married for 75 years in this day and age is unimaginable. We had a mass today in celebration of their anniversary, it was just wonderful! I think it made my parents' day,” said Darryl. “I have the best parents in the world.”

Dan says his time in the Navy meant a lot, but his service is not quite as special as his marriage.

“That’s the best thing that ever happened," says Dan, “One of the best, [but] the best thing that happened to me is I met my wife.”