To the Times of Ti:
Being born on a national holiday sure has its virtues. My birthday is on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, 1920. At the start of WWII I joined the U.S. Navy and served from start to finish. God was with me, though I saw very much action, the only injury I received was a split toe. That was when our ship, the 696, the English, sunk one of Japan’s largest submarines off the coast of Formosa, when I and another seaman were loading one of the Y guns, of the 65 depth charges we dropped on the submarine in a very rough sea.
For the last few years, under the guidance of retired school teacher Keith Barber, he has been calling to the attention of his fifth grade class the important of the sacrifices made by veterans. The school has set a few hours aside for this activity. Keith gets veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and the Afghanistan Conflict to give their stores and what they did. This year I again gave a brief talk on WWII, Tom Provoncha told of his service in the Air Force in Vietnam, Nancy Paquette told of her service in Desert Storm and Capt. Jeff Nowc of his service on a submarine and being under water for months at a time.
After our presentations, a beautiful cake was served to every one and, surprise of surprises, a personal birthday card from each student to myself. I wish to thank Mr. Barber, the teachers who helped and the school for such kind treatment. The kids made my day and their best wishes and superb birthday cards, so wonderful and original. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.
Charles “Gusher” Smith