I heard stories of survival and courage that are usually reserved for books and movies. I met a member of Dad’s flight crew who was wounded when their plane was shot down. Even though Richard uses a power chair due in part to injuries he received on that day, he attends each year. He even said he wanted to thank the German pilot who shot him down, because that pilot actually saved his life.
Another attendee told us as we parted ways “I’ll see you in Chicago next year,” even though he is 97 years old!! The grit and determination of these veterans should serve as an inspiration for everybody today.
The first day of our trip was fairly short as we stayed in Oklahoma City. The weather was unseasonably cool, but we visited the Oklahoma City Memorial and ate in Bricktown.
On the trip to San Antonio, we were able to meet up with Dad’s cousin, “Babe” Monroe, who lives between Copperas Cove and Lampassas, Texas. We spent a delightful evening listening to stories of them growing up in the Crete, Nebraska area. Many of the stories I’d heard before, others I hadn’t. One evening was not enough….
Before leaving the area, we met “Babe” and his wife, Jean, for coffee and rolls at a coffee shop in Lampassas called “Perks.” Perks is owned by Babe & Jean’s son, Monte. If you are by chance ever in the Lampassas area, a stop at Perks would be well worth your time.
We saw a lot of country in the 6 days we were gone. The tour of San Antonio was great, but way too fast. There is so much history in the area. I’ve seen movies depicting the Alamo, and had always imagined it to be in the middle of nowhere. I guess it was when the battle took place, but now it’s smack dab in the middle of San Antonio.
We also took an hour-long bus ride to the Bexar area where a BBQ was hosted by a family who owns a ranch in the area. The BBQ was on the grounds of a Methodist Church that was dedicated in 1882 and served as a meeting point for families settled in the area. Once again, it was an interesting piece of history.
The suppers on Friday and Saturday evenings were great with music being provided by bands which played music from the WWII era. Maybe the younger people reading this would think of it as being funny, but it was great watching our veterans enjoying themselves once again.
Leaving San Antonio early Sunday morning gave us the chance to go to Houston, then to Galveston where we were able to see the Gulf of Mexico. We rode the ferry north and continued on Hwy 87 until being able to turn north and head back to I-10. We got our feet wet in the Gulf before leaving. A note of interest is that at this time, most homes destroyed in the last hurricane have not been rebuilt.. Even in Galveston it looked like there were many vacant homes.
It made for an extremely long day, but we made our way back to Oklahoma City before stopping for the night. A leisurely drive on Monday, with a late start, still got us home before dark. Plans are already being made for the 2010 reunion to be held in the Chicago area.