AURORA, Colo. —At the Colorado Freedom Memorial, more than 30 World War II veterans were honored for their service and their longevity, by hundreds who joined in celebrating more than six-thousand veterans who have given their lives to preserve our freedom.
“I was a belly-gunner on a B-17 and B-29 during the war,” said Al Rehmer. “I was just a farm boy from the eastern plains who joined the Army Air Corps after dropping out of high school. But, when my nation called, I knew I had to fight for freedom.”
Pete Zarlengo was in the U.S. Navy, he operated landing crafts on D-Day at Omaha Beach.
“My ship was in the middle of two others,” said Zarlengo. “Both of those crafts were blown up, my boat made it to shore to drop of men and material several times that day, thank God I made it through.”
As lone eagle WWII planes did fly-overs, many of the aging vets welled up with tears, thinking about what they have lived thru and all those they left behind in battles across either ocean. Pete Gray fought on the ground in Germany and France, his biggest conflict, the Battle of the Bulge.
“I ask myself every day, why me? Why did many of my friends and men in my unit die or get wounded and I never suffered a scratch?”
Questions only God can answer. But, on this day of decoration, this reporter also said ‘big-ups’ to Capt. Hank Bowman, a Tuskegee Airman, who passed a few years back. Just glad I had a chance to help him—along with his grandson Jibri—dedicate the Tuskegee Airman statue at the U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel, back in the day! Off we go Pops into the Wild Blue Yonder! Love you man.