December 1, 2022

Kay DiBianca Tells Us About Corporal Charlie Henderson

Kay DiBianca

A couple of years ago, I was invited to participate in the creation of an anthology dedicated to honoring U.S. military veterans who had served during wartime. I accepted that invitation and agreed to write the story of a 98-year-old WWII veteran, Charlie Henderson,(


Charlie said he wasn’t thrilled when he was drafted into the army in 1942. He came from a close family in Mississippi, and he hated to leave, but he answered the call and spent most of his service in Europe. They assigned him to the 449th Gasoline Supply Company, a dangerous situation since the Germans wanted to destroy all gasoline supply depots. Charlie talked openly about the fear he felt when he and his fellow soldiers heard the sound of buzz bombs overhead, but he was proud of the part he played in delivering gasoline to the Allied front lines during the Battle of the Bulge.

After we completed our interviews, I sent Charlie and his nephew, John, the first draft of my article. They made suggestions and corrections and we repeated the process until we were all satisfied with the results. I sent the final copy to them and to the editors of the Forever Young Veterans Anthology. Charlie’s nephew called me about a year ago to tell me Charlie had passed away at 99. John wanted me to know how grateful Charlie was to me for having written his story. He had even asked John to hand out copies of the article at his funeral. I was humbled that Charlie was grateful to me while it is I who owe so much to him. After all, I had only written a story. He had fought a war.

Kay DiBianca, author of The Watch on the Fencepost, (won an Illumination Award for General Fiction and an Eric Hoffer Award for Mystery), and Dead Man’s Watch. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Collierville Christian Writers Group. She has also been published in several anthologies. Kay and her husband, Frank, live, run, and write in Memphis, Tennessee.

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