WWII – two lanky farm boys. One older, one so green he still had dirt under his fingernails. One from Texas, one from Oklahoma.
The bond these men forged goes beyond simple army buddies. They became not just brothers-in-arms, but brothers-in-spirit, and that bond lasted the rest of their lives, spanning more than 70 years after the war ended.
Anti-aircraft gunners, they served in the same unit throughout the war, having been stationed in 6 different countries and fighting in 6 major European battles, including Omaha Beach and Battle of the Bulge.
After the war ended, they found the road between their respective homes wasn’t that far apart, only four-or-five hours drive. The bond they formed overseas strengthened over the years.
This is a picture of them at the Fort Gibson, Oklahoma National Cemetery. Yep, just two tall, lanky farm boys who loved God, country, family and each other. The one on the right is my dad and the other is Perk, his nickname and the only name any of us ever called him. Thank goodness Dad’s nickname (Pineapple) was dropped after the war. Silly man shouldn’t have asked what those strange trees in California were. His buddies never let him forget it. 😉
Dad now rests in that cemetery. Perk, of course, is buried in Texas soil.
Their bonds lasted a lifetime, and I’m sure beyond, but this is what Memorial Day is about. The men and women who put their lives on the line so that we can be free.
Rest in peace Veterans! You are loved. You are appreciated.