Hats off to veterans of World War II

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 26, 2002

Over the course of the past year, The Times-Journal has presented its readers with a series of stories profiling the lives and accomplishments of various area veterans of World War II.

Each month the members of American Legion Post No. 20 have honored a different Dallas County veteran of World War II with dinner and a modest certificate in honor of their service to their country. The Times-Journal, in turn, has been proud to relay the stories of those recipients to our readers.

And what remarkable stories they have had to tell. Men like Earl Goodwin, who piloted a CG-4A combat glider. The CG-4A was big and slow and made an easy target for enemy gunners. The average life of glider pilot in World War II, in fact, was all of 13 seconds. Goodwin completed six missions without being injured.

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Or men like Willard Vick, who drove a deuce-and-a-half truck from Omaha Beach to Salzburg, Austria, and freely admits that he, like every other soldier in that war, was scared to death every step of the way. But scared or not, he and countless other citizen-soldiers stepped up to do their duty. The world owes them a deep debt of gratitude.

As the war drums once again begin to beat a steady tattoo over the crisis concerning

Iraq, it is good to remember that war is not all glory and honor. It means death and bloodshed, too.

Sidney Trammel was just 17 years old when he became a machinist’s mate in the Navy. Trammel served at Guadalcanal. &uot;They tore us up pretty good,&uot; he recalls of the action there. &uot;But we tore them up, too.&uot;

Carl Morgan Jr. has no illusions about the glories of war. Morgan served in the artillery and witnessed first hand the destruction that even the weapons of half a century ago were capable of inflicting upon an enemy. Morgan was a captain, but he dismisses any thought that being in command bestowed any special status. &uot;Mostly,&uot; he says, &uot;it meant you were the last one to get the shovel when it came time to dig in.&uot;

If there has been a common thread connecting the stories of these men, it has been their reluctance to seek the spotlight. Others, they have uniformly insisted, are much more deserving of any honors than they.

These were not professional soldiers. They were ordinary citizens who answered their country’s call to arms, did their duty, then returned &045;&045; mostly without fanfare &045;&045; to pick up the pieces of their lives.

The Times-Journal is honored to tell their stories and to join in saluting the remarkable courage they displayed and the sacrifices they made that we might live in freedom.