I met a WW II veteran recently at Home Depot when I stopped to thank him for serving in the armed forces. He was more than happy to set up a time for me to come and chat with him about his time in the army, as well as life before and after. I had the privilege of spending two and a half hours with him, talking about all sorts of things.
His name is Farrell and he is 92 years old. Drafted in 1942 he eventually was part of the Army Air Corps Floating. He told us (MOMD joined me) that he was proud to serve. MOMD asked if he was scared or nervous going into the war and his answer made us smile. He said he didn’t have time to worry and that his job was to follow instructions.
Farrell told us many things about his life as a child. He and his two younger brothers were orphaned when their parents died two days apart. Farrell was 13 at the time and he almost died as well.
Fortunately, the doctor was wrong about Farrell’s imminent demise nearly 80 years ago. The three boys were sent to live with different family members. Farrell’s youngest brother died as a child as a result of polio. The middle brother was eventually drafted as well and is still alive also.
When asked about things such as his induction, boot camp and other things he had great stories to tell. He said that there really wasn’t boot camp like there is today. Part of his training included crawling under barbed wire attached to posts and learning the proper way to throw hand grenades (quickly).
He did his training in the Lincoln, Nebraska area. It was a farming area and on holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas the servicemen would sign up for a holiday meal. The civilian farmers in the area would invite 2 or 3 of them to come to their home to share a meal. The farmers would pick up the soldiers and then have them back at post by early evening. I loved hearing that!
Farrell has put together some very detailed photo albums of his time in the service. He continues to update it and is in the process of adding photos from the Honor Flight of which he was a part.
After the time we spent talking I feel like I have made a new friend!
Thanks to all who served and those who continue to serve!
Happy Veterans Day!