Veterans at Belmont Village in Cardiff have their portraits taken for nationwide photography project

Edmund Schloss served as a translator in World War II while serving with the 3rd Armored Division of the U.S. First Army, nicknamed Spearhead. He told the Army he was 18 so he could enlist, even though he was 17.

Schloss, 98, was one of 22 veterans at Belmont Village in Cardiff photographed on Aug. 24 as part of a project that many of Belmont’s senior living facilities around the country are participating in.

Photographer Tom Sanders has been taking portraits of the veterans who live at each one. Many served in World War II, but the project has also included veterans of Vietnam, Korea and other parts of history.

“The goal from the project is that I want people to see the veteran portraits on the walls and read the quotes and hopefully just create a greater appreciation for our veterans,” he said.

Sanders’ interest dates back to a homework assignment at California Polytechnic State University, when he photographed a World War II veteran who shared a story about how he nearly died in Italy.

Since then, Sanders said the project “really has a life of its own.” He has traveled the country with Belmont Village, and has photographed thousands of veterans. He had a book of their portraits published in 2010.

Sanders said his goal is to capture their emotions.

Schloss lined up for a solo portrait and a group shot with some of the other vets at the Cardiff facility. He said he lived in Chicago after arriving with his family as German refugees.

“That made it easy for me to become an interpreter,” he said. “The minute they found out I was German, that was it.”

He served on the front lines until the end of the war.

“I went in about a month after the invasion in France and went all the way through until we met the Russians,” Schloss said.

Another Belmont veteran, Bruce Sutherland, 101, served in the Army Air Corps from 1943-45. He posed for photos in a leather flight jacket from that era, and held a hat that he wore during the war.

His son, Scott Sutherland, said his dad flew in countries including China, Egypt, Iran and Vietnam.

Sanders also made recent stops in Belmont’s Sabre Springs and La Jolla facilities to photograph the veterans who live there.

Reflecting on the years spent meeting so many veterans over the life of the project, Sanders said: “I think everyone did their part, if they stayed stateside or saw a traumatic battle.”

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