A series following the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. He was in Europe with the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.This updates the series Following the 10th Armored that I did five years ago.

#5: A Missing Year

Draft Registration Card
• Living in Bethesda, Montgomery Co., Maryland
• Working for People’s Drugs in Washington, DC
• William listed as next of kin
• Age 33
• Birthdate listed as 11/19/1906
• Signed H K Lehman
• Oct 16, 1940
• Light complexion, Blue eyes, brown hair,
• 5’6” 165 pounds
I have no diary for 1941. I have looked through boxes and asked my brother to do the same. It is not to be found. But I am not totally lost. First, available online above is the information from his draft card. As Beula reported on October 17 last year, my dad did register on the first day of registration for the first ever peacetime draft in US history. It is where I got any information I have had about where he was living since Beula never mentioned it. He did “run away” to Maryland and was living in the DC suburb of Bethesda while working at a pharmacy in the city. Looking at Google Maps, it appears to be about nine miles to the store, which was about a mile from the White House.

Two things stand out about the draft registration card. One was the signature. He often used his initials instead of a name. To many he was later known as “H K” and his store was either referred to as Lehman’s Pharmacy or H K Lehman Pharmacy. For me that was a moment of familiarity and, well, comfort. This is my dad.

More interesting is the age/birth date. One of the old story lines in movies and TV is about the young man who lies about his age to join the army. It usually meant they said they were older than they were. There was even an episode of M*A*S*H with Ron Howard playing the soldier who was actually younger than he said. But my dad, I guess in line with the Lehman idea of being different, lied in the other direction. As it would indicate on his military ID card a few years later, he is listed as a year younger than he really was. As of his registration date he was only 5 weeks shy of his 35th birthday, not his 34th. The upper limit for registration at that point was age 35.

I guess he wanted to make sure he got registered. The first enlistees were inducted the day before his actual 35th birthday. Since it was by lottery, it looks like he may not have been called right away.

Additional Enlistment Information 
• Enlistment Date: 13 Jan 1941
• Enlistment State: Maryland
• Enlistment City: Baltimore
• Grade: Private
• Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for assignment to another corps area
• Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
• Source: Civil Life
• Education: 3 years of college
• Civil Occupation: Pharmacists
• Marital Status: Single, without dependents
Did he actually enlist or was he drafted? The enlistment information above would imply it was not voluntary, referring to the component as “selectees”. But I have not yet been able to explore that. Nor have I yet been able to explore what “enlistment for assignment to another corps area” means. I have not yet been able to explore where he went next or what training he would undergo. With no diary I also have no collateral information from my grandmother. All I have is a picture dated August from Camp Blanding, FL.

Camp Blanding itself has an interesting history. It was established in northeastern Florida as a small National Guard camp. It’s history adds that it
is an example of an aptly timed, albeit humble commencement, for a soon valuable commodity. This young post's uses during [World War II] include service as a training site for a multitude of units, a basic training complex for the Infantry, and a Prisoner of War Camp. The contributions of Camp Blanding, Florida, under-publicized as they may be, were significant to the war effort.

The construction of the new facility… began in the latter half of 1939 following the conversion of Camp Clifford R. Foster in Jacksonville, formerly Camp Joseph E Johnson, from a National Guard Post into the Jacksonville Naval Air Station. Soon thereafter, a handful of Jacksonville residents united to form and Air Base Committee.

This fund raising body drew the responsibility for securing $400,000 to help finance construction of a replacement facility in the city's vicinity. It is unlikely that they realized in just a few short years this site would be the largest Infantry Replacement Training Center in the U.S. Army.

The original dimensions of the post were 28,200 acres, however, this bloomed into a sprawling site in excess of 170,000 acres following the federalization of the post in 1940. Thus, the once tiny station suddenly became the second largest training site in the nation in terms of physical size.

[T]he War Department initiated a rapid construction wave in 1941, resulting in the establishment of 10,000 new buildings. Still, the ballooning population of the Post far out paced the process of construction, and by 1942, there were some 60,000 troops quartered at the site. In conjunction with this development, construction estimates soared from the Guard Post, to $27.5 million for this federalized facility.

A shortage of quality labor to aid the process of construction presented a problem to contractors charged with this task. In response, one such company initiated a plan placing novice builders next to more experienced workers, thus allowing the former to learn from the latter. After the company organized this system, a standard mess hall could be cut to size in the lumber yard in 10 minutes, and erected in the field in 25 minutes.

In a short time, Camp Blanding included 125 miles of paved roads, in excess of one million square yards of motor parking areas, eighty one miles of water lines, twenty six and a half miles of railroad, and over two hundred fifty miles of electrical wiring. More important, the reservation boasted a highly advanced artillery range, and top notch rifle, anti-aircraft, mortar and grenade ranges. (Link to Camp Blanding history)

None of this indicates anything about my dad’s training since all I have at this point connecting him to the Post is the picture of a group of medics in August. But what the story of Camp Blanding illustrates is the amazing beginnings of a build up of the American military as had never before been seen. I will talk more about this at a later time, especially in relation to the medical services. Of main historical interest to me is the planning and foresight of President Franklin Roosevelt. From all I have read he knew that the day would come when the United States entered the European war. He did a great deal to make sure that when the day came the US would not be caught completely unprepared.

The nation may have been unprepared, but FDR was not when, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the US base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. America was now in World War II.

Where was Buddy? I have no idea for sure. I will keep digging. But when the calendar turns to 1942 I do know he was home, most likely waiting to be activated when the other “corps area” was ready.

At the end of 1941 the 10th Armored Division and the 80th Armored Medical Battalion did not yet exist. But now, it was only a matter of time. None of us would ever be the same again.

#4: A Family in Turmoil

June 27, 1940
Harold did not come home last night…. left after dinner [tonight] and did not come home for supper. Gee, I am almost crazy.

July 13, 1940
Harold was mad and did not eat any supper and left. Said he was never coming home.
- Diary entries, Beula Keller Lehman

With these two diary entries, Beula opens the curtain ever so slightly on what may have been a family secret. As Europe was being enveloped in a second “Great War” my father was about to add turmoil far more personal and painful to his family. In reality, I have no idea whether he was adding turmoil or just continuing it. For some reason, perhaps simply intuition, overheard but forgotten stories, or my reflection on the older Harold Lehman I knew as a child, I get the feeling that what was about to happen in mid-1940 was not anything particularly new. I do not have any of my grandmother’s diaries prior to 1940 so I cannot dig for clues. In the ones I do have she almost never gives hints of what was going on beneath the surface of her life.

I can deduce several things.
* She is often lonely, deeply lonely. Many times she speaks of missing her daughter, Ruth. She talks about being home alone when my grandfather was off working on the railroad, or perhaps also helping run the pharmacy he co-owned with my Dad. There is throughout an almost overwhelming sadness and loneliness.
 * She is not in good health. She often says she is tired, not feeling well, suffering from a headache.
* She did have a number of friends who were regular visitors and with whom she periodically did things.
* She often mentions a person that I was told about in later years as my Dad’s girlfriend at the time. She is never called that, but she is in and out of the stories of the year, including when Beula goes into the hospital. I did not find any entry that puts her with my Dad. But from what I understood, everyone expected them to get married someday.
As mid-year approaches, things begin to fall apart. Ruth and Carl are never seen as a source of worry. It is her youngest child, Harold, who is. In mid-1940 he is 34 years old. He will be 35 by Thanksgiving. He is an apparently successful pharmacist, owning his own drug store. There was some type of legal issue I found in an old newspaper that had something to do with my grandfather selling some medication to someone when my dad, the pharmacist, was not there. It did not appear as anything major and the law had changed by the time it was settled.

He is almost never mentioned in the diary entries until that one on June 27. There is no indication of any issue that might be involved. Three weeks later, by July 13, it is has gone beyond resolution. A simple matter-of-fact statement of dad’s anger, leaving, and promise never to come home.

I can see him doing that. Anger, a short-fused temper, was one of his personality traits. Others have told me the same thing about him. Basically, in so many words, don’t get Harold mad. Who got him angry? Who else was at dinner on July 13? We are never told. For several days she mentions that she hasn’t heard from him. Four days after he left she comments that she “heard that Harold was in New York.” Then nothing.

On September 7 she writes that it is eight weeks since he left. She calls him “Buddy” in that entry, the first and only time she uses that nickname in 1940. On the 8th he sends for his clothes. She never mentions where he is. Only putting later things together do I know that he was somewhere in Maryland, most likely around Bethesda and Montgomery County.

Throughout this whole period of time, Beula has been getting sicker and spent many a day in bed. She finally has blood tests done around September 8. The doctor calls and says she has to go into the hospital, which she does on September 14. She will remain there over one month, not getting out if bed for almost four weeks. Three days after admission, the handwriting in the diary changes to what to me is instantly recognizable as her daughter’s. The same day it is noted that they sent a telegram to Harold who arrives the next day. He remains home for ten days during which time he is at the hospital part of every day, as were Ruth and my grandfather.

Whatever was wrong it appears to have been serious. They hired private duty nurses for part of the time to be with her twenty-four hours a day. Lots of people visited. The presumed girlfriend was one of the most regular. She came on her own and with others, but I didn’t see any time when she came with Harold. A week after dad leaves the handwriting returns to Beula’s and three days later she sits up out of bed for the first time. She goes home on October 15. From this period on there are regular letters to and from Harold. As usual there are very few personal comments that give a hint to what was going on.

One, however, is the start of what will be the most significant change in his life.
October, 17, 1940
Letter from Harold. He registered. I think he feels better now.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman
This is one day after the first peacetime draft registration began in the United States.
The 1940 law instituted conscription in peacetime, requiring the registration of all men between 21 and 35, with selection for one year's service by a national lottery. President Roosevelt's signing of the Selective Training and Service Act on September 16, 1940, began the first peacetime draft in the United States. … This act came when other preparations, such as increased training and equipment production, had not yet been approved…. The act set a cap of 900,000 men to be in training at any given time, and limited military service to 12 months unless Congress deemed it necessary to extend such service in the interest of national defense…The draft began in October 1940, with the first men entering military service on November 18. (Wikipedia)
I have no idea what Beula meant when she said that she thought he felt better after registering. Any reflecting on it would be completely out of nothingness. The only way I ever heard this described was that Harold “ran away from home” when he was 35, was working in Maryland, and was drafted. Had he remained at home, the owner of an essential business, he would probably never have been drafted. Somehow I get the idea from Beula that in some way or another dad wanted to go. He had no choice but to register, obviously. But there is at least the hint that there was more going on.

Whatever the full story, in October of 1940 the world turmoil and the Lehman family chaos was merging, as it would for many families in the United States. The world as it has been known is about to end. While Pearl Harbor is still a year away, the changes. What Herman Wouk would call the Winds of War were being stirred. No part of the world would be spared.

A month later on November 19 Beula writes that it is the first time Harold is not at home for his birthday in 12 years. (Last time was when he was in college.) She concludes, “It makes me homesick.”

It was a tough year for Beula. My grandfather spent some days in the hospital after a work accident. He is now 64 years old. Beula at 65 had spent a month in the hospital in obviously critical condition. Her son, at 34, had run away to join the Army. There wasn’t much left to say.
December 31, 1940
Well the old year will soon be gone. Hope next year will be better. I had three awful things happen this year.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman

#3- 1940- A World Falling Apart

• January 1, 1940:
New Year and a lovely day. Dad, Harold, and I were alone for dinner. 3:30 Mabelle (sic) and Carl came and stopped for a few minutes.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman
My entry into the World War II era was the diaries of my grandmother Beula. I never knew her. She died at age 72, six months before I was born. I had ignored them for years. They sat in a box in closets and attics and back rooms. I opened one or two once or twice but found them uninteresting. All she seemed to talk about was doing chores, cleaning, and visiting with friends. Opening them at random was no help. When I decided I wanted to get serious about this research, I started reading. They were a mini-treasure chest of information. Sprinkled with the mundane and daily were hints of the man I was looking for. The myth would become reality.

As Beula wrote in her diary of the daily life in her home, the world was in the early stages of an already deadly war. Two days into the New Year President Franklin Roosevelt would address Congress and set the stage for a later request of nearly $900 million for defense ($16 billion in 2018 dollars). He asked the Congress to approve increased national defense spending "based not on panic but on common sense" and "to levy sufficient additional taxes" to help pay for it. (Wikipedia) The officially neutral United States was getting as ready as possible for the day when we would enter the war - still nearly two years away! In the meantime Europe would continue to implode beneath the blitzkrieg tactics of the Nazis and the expansions of the Soviet Union. Some of the more famous first events of 1940 would be:
◆ British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin’s appeasement policy in ruins, Winston Churchill became PM.
◆ Unable to defeat the Nazis on the mainland of Europe, The British would stage the massive evacuation from Dunkirk
◆ Hitler and his troops would take Paris
◆ The Battle of Britain began with seemingly incessant bombing that would continue well into the war. London was bombed and the Blitz began.
◆ German Jews were ordered to wear yellow stars
◆ The Jews of Poland were ordered to move into the Warsaw Ghetto which two months later was cordoned off.
The United State was in the middle of a debate on isolationism. People like aviator Charles Lindberg and the US ambassador to Great Britain, Joseph Kennedy, would be some of its greatest proponents. A group known as the German-American Bund, later shown to be a Nazi-supported front, spoke out in favor of the work of the Nazis in Germany. Roosevelt kept up his not-so-secret plans to involve the United States in the war. The future of western civilization as he and Churchill saw it, was in grave danger. Between mid-September and mid- November the Congress enacted a “peace-time” draft, registration began, and the first draftees entered service.

Little to none of this shows up in Beula’s diary. A Roosevelt Democrat, she “listened to President's speech and it was good.” She enjoyed the blockbuster movie, Gone With the Wind and even mentions when others of the family saw it. Lots of family things are there. She goes to the club or lodge. There were several trips to Bethlehem to see her daughter, Ruth; son Carl and his long-time girlfriend Mabel are in and out. Beula is often not feeling well and my grandfather has an accident at work (the finger incident?) and is in the hospital for four days in May.

One incident, though, stands out in the first half of the year. On April 25 she wrote:
Got [up] at 845 and heard the kids making a lot of noise and I looked out and saw a man climbing the flag pole at the high school to take down a German flag that had been put up during the night.
The high school, which would become my junior high school in 1960, was less than half a block from her house. The report in the Jersey Shore Herald the next day reported that the incident was under investigation but was being hindered by the fact that there was uncertainty about what laws might have been broken. The article ended:
The incident appeared this afternoon to have been little more than the work of some local "crank" with the apparent result of centering interest as the scene of one of the first rural demonstrations of patriotism, fanned by the outbreak of the European war. (Jersey Shore Herald, April 26, 1940)
The reason the incident stands out in my mind is part of the family myth. Somewhere in the past was a memory of being told that one of the “hellion” actions of my father had been to be part of a group that put a Nazi flag on the high school flagpole. There is no indication in the diary of my dad’s involvement in this, but the fact that such an event took place adds weight to the myth.

In reality. until the end of June there are few mentions of my dad in the diary. He is mentioned even fewer times than either of his siblings. That will change mid-year.

#2- Finding the Past

Much of what I thought I knew about my family was based on hearsay, rumor, gossip, and bits of overheard information. While much of what the “big ears of little pitchers” hear is filtered through misinterpretation, wishful thinking, and a family’s desire to maintain a semblance of normalcy, much of it may well be based on truth. And these truths become the stuff of myth, a family’s “creation story”. The story becomes enhanced and even embellished and its mythic element grows when we read out lives back into the past

How much of myth was fact? How many of the feelings are history? After many decades, it can be a daunting task to dig and open up the stories. Since this is the story of my father in World War II, he is the center of the myth. While not seen as a “patriarch” of the family, he is the center of what I needed to dig into to find the man I never had the chance to know.

Harold Keller Lehman. He was known as “Red” to his friends, “Buddy” to his mother. Born in November 1905, he was the youngest of three children of William H. and Beula Keller Lehman. Bill and Beula grew up on neighboring homesteads in the Pine Creek Valley, north of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, along the edge of the Allegheny Plateau. Both families were of German background. Bill’s grandfather and Beula’s father were born in Germany and came to the United States as children. However, through the Lehman-Kline (Klein) family, we could trace back to pre-Revolutionary days. As best as I can discover, my brother and I were the 9th generation born in the United States. All branches I have found settled somewhere in southeastern and central Pennsylvania. Many even came from the same general area in Germany.

Bill and Beula were the fourth generation of the family in the Pine Creek Valley. Beula was one of five who lived, with one older brother, one older sister and two younger brothers. Bill was one of fifteen children, the second oldest to survive infancy. They married at the end of the 19th Century in 1899.

Beula came from a farm family; like many in his family, Bill was a railroad man, a brakeman on the New York Central. In the late 1800s the area was the logging capital of the world. By 1900 the logging boom in the area had slowed, but the railroads continued to connect the valley to the greater world. The Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads ran through the valley and the NYC had shops in Avis near where the Lehmans lived. Bill had a couple fingers on one hand shortened by getting them caught in the couplings of a freight. I never got the sense that the Lehmans were a close family, or were all that good at connecting with other sides of the family. All kinds of aunt-this or uncle-that were tossed around. By the mid-1950s their numbers were legion in the valley with more branches and leaves on the tree than I ever understood. I never met most of them. Even when they lived nearby.

The quintessential image for me is the family picture of my grandfather’s parents and siblings. At least one, my grandfather, is pasted into the picture. The story was that the whole family couldn’t stand to be around everyone at the same time. When I looked at the old family picture from the late 1890s I would chuckle at the story, the myth, of the family that couldn’t get along. It was my little family joke. Meanwhile, by the 1970s I left home and hardly looked back. Perhaps myth infuses us with direction or destiny? Perhaps we are predisposed to follow the old stories in whatever ways they may fit our lives.

True or not, though, myth is the story we tell ourselves. It is the “better story” as understood from the point of view of the wonderful novel, Life of Pi. Myth is the story that explains us- both our strengths and weaknesses. Myth gives order to the chaos of real life. It describes roots and explores meaning.

When we don’t have all the information, myth takes on more importance. Overheard data bits, oral tradition, pictures from an old scrapbook get enmeshed with what we feel about ourselves. They become as real as anything that actually happened. We can’t live well without myth. We can’t make sense of who we are without it. But at times neither can we see clearly what is right in front of us because of the fog of myth.

Harold shows up in a couple pictures I have from his high school days. In one he is a member of a record-setting undefeated football team.  During his junior year the team went undefeated and set what is still a national record of averaging over 75 points per game in a season of less than 10 games. According to records every game was a shutout. In another picture he is sitting cross-legged next to a cousin in the front row of what is labeled as the “yearbook committee”, the only male in the picture, and in a third, his 1924 class picture, he sits to the left of the class banner. He appears in a couple other pictures with friends on a camping trip and another at a beach. In all pictures there is a certain self-assurance that I identify with my own memories of him. He has a slight, almost mischievous grin that I also find on pictures of his siblings- and sons.

He was apparently a good student as he went off to college- the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy and Science. His brother Carl by now was working on the railroad and his sister Ruth was becoming a teacher or whatever then led her to work for Williamsport Wire and Rope which eventually was bought by Bethlehem Steel where she and her husband moved to what would later be part of my story in Bethlehem, PA.

For Harold, a railroader’s son from the north woods heading into Philadelphia must have been a challenge; it would appear that he was able to handle it. In 1928 his senior yearbook shows a handsome, almost dapper, young man, same smile as before but now sporting the mustache that is, in my mind, almost a trademark. He never lost that mustache and every subsequent picture through his death shows it-including his military ID.

But more than the image is the description. They note two nicknames, “Shorty” and “Dutch.” He is called “short of stature but mighty in brain power.” They say that he has “enlivened many a session” with his “ready wit and can speak with authority on subjects other than Pharmacy.” He seems to have been the one to turn to when the “boys want to take in a show” as this is one of “the first things he looks into.” They refer to an easy ability around the labs but also note his shyness and humility around the opposite sex. 

The summary ends:
He likes football, appreciates sports, shy at women, is keen on cars and knows what Pharmacy is all about. He will succeed.
Between his college graduation in 1928 and the beginning of this story, Harold returned to his home became a local businessman and lived what may have been the life of a carefree bachelor. He lived with his parents in the house where he had spent much of his youth. It would be his sister’s house, and my home, when I graduated from college forty years later.

The myth here adds bits of data that give a slight shadow to the image. I remember one incident after his death when I was talking with one of his high school classmates who started laughing about how Red was somewhat of a “hellion.” Dad’s friend, realizing that he was talking to a high school student smiled and said something to the effect of “but you don’t really need to know any of that.”

World War II began in Europe on September 1, 1939.
Harold was two months shy of his 34th birthday.

#1: May We Never Forget

We are in danger of losing our memory of World War II. What may arguably have been the single greatest moment in US (and world) history is on the brink of losing its hold on our American psyche and soul. We seem to be losing the unique greatness of who we were and how we got there- the living (yet admittedly flawed) embodiment of our ideals and who we believed ourselves to be. We are forgetting what we fought for- and against.

This is not the first time this has happened in our history. After a generation or two, many great acts of history flow into myth and their raw facts are lost. The following generations then lose the real-life examples of what was involved. It is then that, having forgotten history, we are condemned to repeat it. In the early 20th Century the Civil War was lost as those who opposed it began to reassert control in the South, the KKK was established, and racism was legalized without slavery. In mid-Century there was a time of remembering and attempting to assert our ideals, perhaps partly due to World War II. The Civil Rights movement advanced the cause of the Civil War 100 years after Antietam, . But its reality and advances are continually up for grabs as America’s original sin never goes away. Incredibly, the story of the Civil War remains a matter of debate.

There are many things about World War II that defined us as a nation and as a world leader in the second half of the last Century. The willingness of the nation and that generation of men and women to sacrifice for the survival of democracy, western civilization, and freedom is possibly one of the most significant world-embracing actions in human history. The darkness  of that era is forgotten; the Holocaust is an academic subject; totalitarian government is seen by some as “effective”; Nazis can be good people. The catastrophic danger of forgetting is sitting on our doorstep.

I am a son of that “greatest generation”. My father was a medic in Europe during the last year of the war. I was born just three years after his return home, a Baby Boomer who was nursed and nurtured in the air of the World War II victory as were many of my generation. I grew up in a small rural community in northern Pennsylvania. There were veterans everywhere. My classmate's parents, my teachers, my neighbors were vets.

I never heard a word about it from my father. Admittedly I was too young to hear the real stories- TV newsreels and documentaries and movies were the story we heard. I was never privy to what it was like or to hear the stories- if they even shared them- from the nights at the American Legion or VFW.  Patriotism- pride in our soldiers and the courage of a nation that stood up for what it believed as right and honorable- was everywhere.

On my tenth birthday, hundreds of miles away in Philadelphia, my father had exploratory surgery to find the cause of his “spells.” They removed a non-malignant tumor. All that meant was it wouldn’t metastasize. He died six-years later, two and a half years after my mother, in a VA hospital, the final thank you from the country he served. With him went any possible access to his stories or experiences.

Death is an irrevocable divide and what wasn’t learned before the death may forever be lost; they become secrets, intentional or not. Much of what I think I know of my family is based on hearsay, rumor, gossip, and faintly remembered or overheard bits of information. “Little pitchers [may] have big ears,” but often what we hear is biased, misunderstood, misinterpreted, and colored by a lack of depth of understanding. The information becomes the stuff of myth, not unlike the “creation stories” of all native people worldwide. These are just narrower in their scope picking out a single branch or two of the human family tree. As time passes and more people die the more mythic becomes the story, potentially more enhanced by ones own experiences that are read back into the past.

All I ever learned of Dad's service was second hand from family members- mainly his sister who became my brother’s and my guardian. Not that I was all that interested at the time. What I knew about World War II was that it was big, important, and horrific. There were family stories that he had served in the 10th Armored Division under the mythic General Patton and that he was at the Battle of the Bulge. Other stories told of how he was too old to have been in the war, 39 years old and the owner of a pharmacy, when he went overseas. There was the family creation story of his meeting my mother in Georgia while in training and marrying her- a younger Jewish woman from Brooklyn- at the Jewish USO. He was, of course, not Jewish.

Then about six or seven years ago I began to do some more reading about the war as its seventieth anniversary approached and worked on family history. I opened my grandmother’s diaries for the first time in years and discovered, hidden between the everyday events were clues, bits and pieces that fit the “mythic” stories from my family. I was about to fall headlong into World War II. Four years ago I followed the 10th Armored and my father’s 80th Armored Medical Battalion in their year in Europe and wrote about it for my blog. I found things about what my Dad was involved in and learned some of his story as shaped by the events of that year. But I knew there had to be even more to the story than what I had found in a relatively cursory exploration.

We are now coming up on the 75th anniversary of the end of the war. I have been reading and researching continuing to look for more clues to what Red Lehman faced. For many this is history. For me and my generation, it is recent events. It is what made our parents' generation into what we now call the Greatest Generation. Perhaps it has taken me all these 70 years of my life to begin to understand what that means. I am humbled by it and am just here to tell a very small part of that story. As I see us forgetting the meaning and sacrifice of that era, I want to do what I can to see that it is not so easily set aside.