The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LIVING - By Gary Puleo gpuleo@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @ on Twit­ter

on Vet­er­ans, as well as free ad­mis­sion for vet­er­ans. Flag rais­ing, wreath lay­ing, ThankA-Vet post­card and chats with vet­er­ans will be among the high­lights of the day.

Closer to home, two World War II vet­er­ans who were born the year af­ter World War I came to an end, were treated to one of the most mean­ing­ful Vet­er­ans Day cel­e­bra­tions of their lives — a few days ahead of the hol­i­day.

Paul Franzen and Char­lie Gray served in the U.S. Army in North Africa and Italy dur­ing World War II but had never ac­tu­ally met.

That all changed ear­lier this week when the two men, now 99, were brought to­gether through the ef­forts of a thought­ful nurse prac­ti­tioner.

Both Franzen, a res­i­dent of Ma­sonic Vil­lage, and Gray, of West Philadel­phia, re­ceive ser­vices through Vis­it­ing Nurse As­so­ci­a­tion of Philadel­phia (VNA), where nurse prac­ti­tioner Aileen Aller­ton got to know both of them.

“I work with two dif­fer­ent teams; Mr. Franzen is on one team and Mr. Gray is on an a dif­fer­ent team,” Aller­ton ex­plained.

“In talk­ing with Mr. Franzen, he was telling me about his World War II his­tory and how he was in Italy and Africa, and six weeks later I went out to see Mr. Gray. He has a plaque on his wall that he was in World War II and he was also telling me that he was in Italy and Africa. So they’re both 99 years old, were both in Africa and Italy in World II … I told both of their so­cial work­ers that these guys might know each other. Maybe we can get them to­gether. And that’s how it hap­pened. I’m re­ally glad we could get them to­gether,” she added. “It’s a beau­ti­ful con­nec­tion. It’s nice to get Mr. Gray out of the house and give them the chance to share



Larry Roberts, 60, a vet­eran from South Shields in Eng­land, who served with the Royal Green Jack­ets, stands for a mo­ment look­ing at the sculp­ture en­ti­tled Eleven ‘O’ One in Sea­ham, County Durham, Eng­land, ahead of play­ing the bu­gle dur­ing a cer­e­mony to mark Ar­mistice Day, the an­niver­sary of the end of the First World War, Wed­nes­day Nov. 11, 2015. The statue of the WWI sol­dier, built out of spe­cial cor­teen steel, nick­named ‘Tommy’ by lo­cals was in­stalled to mark the cen­te­nary of the start of the Great War.

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