Friday, March 02, 2012

World War Two Heroes

Today we participated in a field trip to Lyon Air Museum where we viewed amazing WWII aircraft and met some REAL HEROES of the Greatest Generation! I was excited for this field trip as we're beginning to study WWII, but I didn't realize we were going to spend the morning with these amazing veterans.

When we arrived a docent, Jack Hammett, introduced himself.  Mr. Hammett is a Pearl Harbor Survivor, was in England on D-Day, Casualty Care 101st of the 82nd Airborne, served in North Africa, North Atlantic, and Korea.  He's received many medals and special service awards.  He served as a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Navy.

Jack Hammett

He kept looking at me taking pics of him.  I'm so paparazzo!

Mr. Hammett introducing us to Mr. Harry Selling

Here's a video of Mr. Jack Hammett receiving the Veteran of the Year Award.

We spent the majority of our tour with Mr. Harry Selling.  He was a Bomber Pilot and POW.  Harry served in WWII over the European Theater.  On Septermber 12, 1944, Harry and his crew were shot down over Berlin.  Of the nine men in his plane Harry was the only to survive.  He shared how his co-pilot was burned up in the plane, Harry fell unconscious as the plane fell from the sky.  At about 1000 feet, Harry regained consciousness, pulled the cord on his parachute, and landed in a tree.  While telling the story he looked at the kids and said, "I'm a miracle."

"Yes, Harry, I could tell you were a walking miracle," I thought to myself.

He then shared how he ran, collapsed, slept and eventually ended up in a village. The village people saw him, circled around him and began kicking and beating at him.  A villager, came up to the group, shot a gun in the air, and brought Harry to his home.

Harry said, "We had simpatico."

Two enemies.  Connecting.  Mutual Respect.

Harry ended up in a POW camp for 9 months. The camp was close to the Baltic Sea where the captives experience frigid temperatures and very little food.  While in the camp the POW's received minimal food, about 250 calories per day.  When Harry was released he weighed 115 pounds and he said his emaciated upper arms were about the circumference of his present day wrist.

Harry made it back to the U.S. where he married.  He and his wife were married 53 years.  They adopted two children and he now serves as a volunteer at the museum.

Harry's medals and special service awards include:

The Purple Heart
Air Medal
Good Conduct Medal
ETO Two Battle Stars
American Defense
American Theater
WWII Victory Medal
Prisoner of War Medal

Harry is a very special Hero!

Harry and Me

Harry with our Group

Harry and the Group...And for some reason I had MAJOR Cheese going on!

My friend with Harry
He was the sweetest!

He offered the kids wise advice:

Never smoke or chew tobacco
Take good care of your teeth, they're the only ones you have
Get your eye pressure tested (I took care of that one this week)
Stop at Stop signs and red lights
Take Right turns
Keep trying to improve
Set Goals!!!

In addition to these amazing men we saw:

Hitler's Parade Car (1939-1940)

Hitler's Vehicle

Fuddy Duddy

No comments: