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World War II Memories – Uncle Richard

Every family had someone in the war, back during World War II.

In my husband’s family, his brother, Bob, Scan_Pic0158  fought in Europe.

In my family, my cousin, Louis, Scan_Pic0054 served from my dad’s side of our family. He recently had his 90th birthday!

My uncle Richard  Scan_Pic0053  was my mother’s brother.

There were others as well, but these were the ones we were close to. They all came home for which we’re very thankful!

But a price was paid.

Bob came home with an illness and was hospitalized for months.

Uncle Richard was inducted into the US Army December 2, 1942 in Des Moines, Iowa. He trained at Camp Dodge in Des Moines. Uncle Richard served in the infantry in Africa, Italy and France. He was wounded in France in 1945 and received a Purple Heart with a Cluster. Uncle Richard was discharged from the US Army on July 18, 1945.

My grandma was first notified that my Uncle Richard was missing-in-action. Then she received word that he had been injured and was in a hospital. What a relief! Later, Grandma went to Texas to be with him.

One day our phone rang. Mother answered…it was Uncle Richard! He gently told my mother that he had lost both of his legs in France. Mother burst out crying. He assured her he would be okay. I remember the family being in shock. He was alive, but what kind of a life could he live, without legs? He came to visit once that I remember of. He was able to walk, with his cumbersome, new artificial legs, with the help of his cane. I remember being impressed that he could walk!

The next time I saw him was in Waterloo, Iowa at Christmas time, 1947. My family was now living in Covington, Oklahoma, and we had gone to Iowa for Christmas that year. Uncle Richard was living with my grandma. I remember Mother talking to my siblings and me, warning us to behave, to be quiet, not to play in his wheelchair, not to stare at his missing legs or at his artificial legs, etc. I do remember sitting in his wheelchair and even riding in it!

The US Government gave Uncle Richard a convertible with hand controls! If I recall, he traded it in every two years for a new one.

Uncle Richard enrolled in a business college and became a bookkeeper. He married Ruth and they had four children, two boys and two girls. They moved to Elysian, Minnesota, in 1954, living there until his death in 1993.  He even became the mayor of Elysian!