War

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - FEA­TURES -

old mem­o­ries.”

Be­fore long, Gray and his daugh­ter, Carla Gray, were on their way from West Philadel­phia to the Ma­sonic Vil­lage at Lafayette Hill.

Carla Gray said her fa­ther, who was a cook in the Army, doesn’t get many chances, for­mal or oth­er­wise, to rem­i­nisce any­more.

“All his Army friends are dead and gone. Ev­ery June he gets a birth­day card from Washington. So when I told him there was an­other man from the Army they wanted him to meet and that they were set­ting it up, he liked the idea and said yes right away,” she said.

“He re­mem­bers those days well and he used to talk about them here and there, about all his friends that got killed. But he en­joyed cook­ing in the Army and if he could do it all again he would.”

As much as Gray, who served from Novem­ber, 1942 to Novem­ber, 1945, en­joyed cook­ing for the sol­diers he didn’t pur­sue a culi­nary ca­reer af­ter the Army.

“He went into con­struc­tion,” noted Carla, who spoke for her fa­ther, who is hear­ing im­paired, at the gather­ing, where guests were treated to cof­fee and a huge sheet cake dec­o­rated with an im­age of the Amer­i­can flag.

“My fa­ther’s sis­ter, Ma­bel, ran a bar in West Philadel­phia and he used to cook bar­be­cue there some­times,” said Carla, who said she was too young to re­mem­ber any­thing about the bar.

She said the Ma­sonic re­union was a day she and her fa­ther would al­ways re­mem­ber.

“They brought two vet­er­ans to­gether who were born the same year, 1919 and made it such a beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.”

VNA so­cial worker Melissa Hecht noted: “This is a chance for them to con­nect with a kin­dred spirit since the ex­pe­ri­ence of serv­ing in the mil­i­tary is so defin­ing.”

Franzen, a staff sergeant in the 51st med­i­cal bat­tal­ion who served as a pla­toon sergeant, treat­ing and trans­port­ing bat­tle ca­su­al­ties and op­er­at­ing a small dis­pen­sary from 1941 to 1945, said that as a medic he had fol­lowed Gen­eral Pat­ton’s troops into Italy.

“Which war was that?” he joked.

“He’ll tell you he was in the Civil War,” noted his come back, we’re grate­ful on their way from West daugh­ter, Liz Hage­dorn, for all their ser­vice.” Philadel­phia to the Ma­sonic smil­ing. Two World War II veter- Vil­lage at Lafayette Hill.

“The year he was drafted ans got to en­joy their own “I’m re­ally glad we could his sis­ter went off to be a unique Vet­er­ans Day cel- get them to­gether,” Aller­ton nun, so it was a hard time ebra­tion a lit­tle early this said. “It’s a beau­ti­ful for his par­ents. But he made year. con­nec­tion. It’s nice to get it back safely. He lost a cou­ple Paul Franzen and Char­lie Mr. Gray out of the house of good friends in the Gray served in the U.S. and give them the chance to war that he talked about,” Army in North Africa and share old mem­o­ries.” said Hage­dorn, who ad­mit­ted Italy dur­ing World War II Carla Gray said her fa­ther, she was sur­prised when but had never ac­tu­ally met. who was a cook in the in­vi­ta­tion from Ma­sonic That all changed ear­lier the Army, doesn’t get many Vil­lage ar­rived. this week when the two chances, for­mal or oth­er­wise,

“It’s so nice that they fi­nally men, now 99, were brought to rem­i­nisce with col­leagues got to meet. These to­gether through the ef­forts from the war any­more. gen­tle­men never served to­gether of a thought­ful nurse prac­ti­tioner. be­cause of the seg­re­ga­tion “All his Army friends are back then, but they Both Franzen, a res­i­dent dead and gone. Ev­ery June fol­lowed the same track and of Ma­sonic Vil­lage, he gets a birth­day card from were both so cru­cial to the and Gray, of West Philadel­phia, Washington. So when I told whole ef­fort.” re­ceive ser­vices him there was an­other man

Franzen, a Manayunk through Vis­it­ing Nurse As­so­ci­a­tion from the Army they wanted na­tive, raised his fam­ily of Philadel­phia him to meet and that they in nearby Roxbor­ough, his (VNA), where nurse prac­ti­tioner were set­ting it up, he liked daugh­ter said. Aileen Aller­ton got to the idea and said yes right

“Be­fore he went into ser­vice know both of them. away,” she said. he had a re­tail sales “I work with two dif­fer­ent “He re­mem­bers those po­si­tion with the Nor­cross teams; Mr. Franzen is days well and he used to greet­ing card com­pany in on one team and Mr. Gray talk about them here and West Ch­ester. They held is on an a dif­fer­ent team,” there, about all his friends that job for him, so when he Aller­ton ex­plained. that got killed. But he en­joyed came out he could get back “In talk­ing with Mr. cook­ing in the Army to that po­si­tion, which he Franzen, he was telling me and if he could do it all did, and worked there for 42 about his World War II his­tory again he would.” years,” Hage­dorn said. and how he was in Italy As much as Gray, who

Af­ter leav­ing Nor­cross and Africa, and six weeks served from Novem­ber, Franzen earned his real es­tate later I went out to see Mr. 1942 to Novem­ber, 1945, li­cense, and then vol­un­teered Gray. He has a plaque on his en­joyed cook­ing for the for Share food pantry wall that he was in World sol­diers he didn’t pur­sue un­til eight years ago. War II and he was also telling a culi­nary ca­reer af­ter the

“If he could do it now he me that he was in Italy Army. would still be vol­un­teer­ing,” and Africa. So they’re “He went into con­struc­tion,” Hage­dorn said. both 99 years old, were noted Carla, who

“This meet­ing to­day both in Africa and Italy in spoke for her fa­ther, who shows an ap­pre­ci­a­tion that World War II … I told both is hear­ing im­paired, at the younger gen­er­a­tions may of their so­cial work­ers that gather­ing, where guests not un­der­stand. We take a these guys might know each were treated to cof­fee and lot for granted in this coun­try. other. Maybe we can get a huge sheet cake dec­o­rated To my dad and Mr. Gray them to­gether. And that’s with an im­age of the Amer­i­can and all the men and women how it hap­pened.” flag. who served in World War II, Be­fore long, Gray and his “My fa­ther’s sis­ter, Ma­bel, and to the ones who didn’t daugh­ter, Carla Gray, were ran a bar in West Philadel­phia and he used to cook bar­be­cue there some­times,” said Carla, who said she was too young to re­mem­ber any­thing about the bar.

She said the Ma­sonic re­union was a day she and her fa­ther would al­ways re­mem­ber.

“They brought two vet­er­ans to­gether who were born the same year, 1919 and made it such a beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.”

VNA so­cial worker Melissa Hecht noted: “This is a chance for them to con­nect with a kin­dred spirit since the ex­pe­ri­ence of serv­ing in the mil­i­tary is so defin­ing.”

Franzen, a staff sergeant in the 51st med­i­cal bat­tal­ion who served as a pla­toon sergeant, treat­ing and trans­port­ing bat­tle ca­su­al­ties and op­er­at­ing a small dis­pen­sary from 1941 to 1945, said that as a medic he had fol­lowed Gen­eral Pat­ton’s troops into Italy.

“Which war was that?” he joked.

“He’ll tell you he was in the Civil War,” noted his daugh­ter, Liz Hage­dorn, smil­ing.

“The year he was drafted his sis­ter went off to be a nun, so it was a hard time for his par­ents. But he made it back safely. He lost a cou­ple of good friends in the war that he talked about,” said Hage­dorn, who ad­mit­ted she was sur­prised when the in­vi­ta­tion from Ma­sonic Vil­lage ar­rived.

“It’s so nice that they fi­nally got to meet. These gen­tle­men never served to­gether be­cause of the seg­re­ga­tion back then, but they fol­lowed the same track and were both so cru­cial to the whole ef­fort.”

Franzen, a Manayunk na­tive, raised his fam­ily in nearby Roxbor­ough, his daugh­ter said.

“Be­fore he went into the ser­vice he had a re­tail sales po­si­tion with the Nor­cross greet­ing card com­pany in West Ch­ester. They held that job for him, so when he came out he could get back to that po­si­tion, which he did, and worked there for 42 years,” Hage­dorn said.

Af­ter leav­ing Nor­cross Franzen earned his real es­tate li­cense, and then vol­un­teered for the Share Food Pro­gram in Philadel­phia un­til eight years ago.

“If he could do it now he would still be vol­un­teer­ing,” Hage­dorn said.

“This meet­ing to­day shows an ap­pre­ci­a­tion that younger gen­er­a­tions may not un­der­stand. We take a lot for granted in this coun­try. To my dad and Mr. Gray and all the men and women who served in World War II, and to the ones who didn’t come back, we’re grate­ful for all their ser­vice.”

IM­AGE COUR­TESY TEDD LEVY

Pres­i­dent Wil­son pro­claimed Nov. 11 as the first com­mem­o­ra­tion of Ar­mistice Day.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Washington Me­mo­rial Chapel bells in Val­ley Forge will ring out in an un­prece­dented na­tional com­mem­o­ra­tion of Ar­mistice Day on Nov. 11

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

From 1941-1945, Paul Franzen, left, served as a pla­toon sergeant, treat­ing and trans­port­ing bat­tle ca­su­al­ties and op­er­at­ing a small dis­pen­sary. Char­lie Gray, wear­ing a hat, served as a cook for four years.

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