WORLD WAR II VETERANS MEET FOR THE FIRST TIME
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
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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.