I have a wonderful group of e-pen pals who I hear from quite often. I found a note from one of them, Wilfred McCarty, very interesting. Mac, as I call him, is a veteran of WWII. (You can see photos of Mac and some of my other veteran friends here.)
I’ve also interview Fay Steele is who noted below. And VE Day . . . in case you didn’t know, stands for Victory in Europe. The end of WWII there.
Here is what Mac had to say:
Seeing the photograph in Monday July 31, 2006 issue of Communicator of some home members that were invited to attend the Department of Veterans Affairs 75th Anniversary reminded me that one time PR asked four of us members if we would be interviewed by Veterans Affairs.
It was quite an elaborate set up, motion picture camera, sound man and interviewer they sent over to interview each of us for about an hour. I thought I was going to be a motion picture star, but evidently the only part they evidently used was the answers each of us gave as to where we were on VE Day.
Fay Steele World War Two Veteran: I was stationed at Chartres, France with the 9th Troop Carrier Commands Combat Camera Unit, and we got word that all the German troops in Denmark had surrendered. So they sent two photographers and two reporters up to Denmark to Copenhagen to cover the celebration, and as we flew into the Copenhagen Airport we didnt know that the war was over. They didn’t tell us until we were on the ground.
Anywhere we went in Copenhagen they would recognize us as Americans so they’d applaud us and we all must have signed 1,000 autographs.
Daniel Funk World War Two Veteran: VE Day 1945. I was out on detail. We were collecting abandoned German ammunition, and I didnt know the war was over at the time until I got back to the company. And I was elated. We managed to smuggle in about four barrels of beer, and I don’t remember much about the next day.
Frank Hayden World War Two Veteran. I sailed on Liberty ships as a cadet mid-shipman during the war beginning in 1943 crossing the North Atlantic dodging submarines. On May 8th V-E Day, I had been at the US Merchant Marine Academy and they gave me leave to go home to Brooklyn New York. I had to transfer trains and got off at Times Square. And the newsbroke out that it was VE day. It was just complete bedlam. Anybody in uniform–which I was still in uniform–treated us like Kings. We went from one party to another.
Wilfred “Mac”McCarty World War Two Veteran. Our outfit on the 5th of May liberated Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria. That’s were I was VE night (and for five weeks) so it was not what you expect for a VE celebration. We did not celebrate. When I learned about the different celebrations all over Europe I thought, My gosh, I missed out on all of that. Leave it to Mac to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Story of my life.
Tricia back again . . .
For these four veterans and millions more . . . thank you! And, Mac, I don’t think you were at the wrong place. The answered prayers of many as you opened those gates to freedom are proof of that!