Carl was 90 years old well known to family and friends, but today most people did not know him. Many of his friends have already passed on, his wife was gone and as you grow older your circle gets smaller. But Carl was like so many other Americans of the greatest generation. Born in 1925, he was just 16 when WWII started and soon this boy went of to war and became a B-17 Aerial Gunner, then as faith would have it he was shot down over enemy lines. Hiding in bales of hay, 15 of them he recalls, he slowly made he way back towards the allied lines. One day a little boy spotted him and he was certain he would be captured. The boy got his mother and she told he the Germans had just pulled back and showed him the way to the town of Bastogne, it was cold on that December 1944 morning when he made his way across the American lines.
Little was this “airmen” to know a major battle was starting around him and now he was an infantry soldier, just one of 610,000 Americans in the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States in WWII. The Battle of the Bulge. He was one of the few airmen to have earned the Combat Infantry Badge while still an airman during the battle. He was very quiet man but I am certain his uniform looked good with his Air Force Aerial Gunner Wings and his Combat Infantry Badge. What a rare combination.
He came home, married, taught history, had a family which grew to where today a lot of grandchildren and great grandchildren came to see him being laid to rest by an Air Force Honor Guard and hear a 21 gun salute and taps being played.
The drive from the Funeral Home to the Cemetery was about 30 minutes. As we drove the back roads of Indiana hundreds of cars pulled over to the side of the road as we passed. They sat there until the cars with lights on and purple flags passed and then went on their way. Little did they know by doing this they were honoring a true American Hero. Even business vehicles and trucks pulled over. Just a very few were too busy to stop. Thank you for stopping for a few minutes to all of you who did not know Carl as we drove by.