Janet Wertz is one of the authors who volunteered to interview and write some of the veterans' stories about the war.
Janet is sharing that day with us.
The day I went to meet my assigned veteran, Mr. Irwin Rumler, (1st Lieutenant) I had a digital voice recorder, a Flair pen, and two tablets of legal sheet paper, one for my notes, the other for me to write questions for Mr. Rumler, as I’d been warned he was hard of hearing. I’d arranged for us to meet at the Lichterman Nature Center near his home. Covid Rules were in force, closing the Center’s café.
A very spry WWII veteran strode in. Within minutes, he began telling me his story in the empty cafe, bringing the days he had flown a B24 out of England, over the Channel and into the Reich to life, as if those days had happened yesterday. What he observed the days he flew over the D-Day Invasion beaches was heart rending. His having seen so many young men trying to land on those beaches, while enduring terrible losses showed on his face.
About a week later, I interviewed Bill McGrath (Colonel) in his home as his wife listened in on the stories. Another B-24 pilot, he had flown out of a base in India, and over the ‘Hump’ of the Himalayan Mountains. Some were light and funny as he told of a crew mascot monkey named George. Others less so, as he told of friends whose aircraft had exploded in fireballs.
Before he died, Dad, Paul L. Wertz (Lieutenant Colonel) left plenty of notes behind about WWII and the time he spent working in support of the B-29s, mostly in Karachi, India.
Aside from all being in the Army Air Corps, these veterans had one thing in common. To a man, each said he did not consider himself a hero. He was an American in the military just doing his part to defend the country he loved. Nothing more. May this country never run out of such people willing to defend it.
I would like to thank Forever Young for giving the writers of CCW the opportunity and privilege of contributing to this anthology.
Janet G. Wertz. Published in anthologies for the Museum of the Military Family, a contributor and editor of the cookbook of recipes and memories and published in anthology books with the Collierville Christian Writers Group. She is living her dream of being a writer and a photographer, published in magazines and the newspaper. Growing up an Air Force Brat, she heard many of her father’s stories. She is a member of the Collierville Christian Writers Group.