Roger Denly, 43, is still learning the fine points of bowling while seated in a wheelchair, but last Thursday afternoon he was enjoying "tenpin therapy" at the little six-lane bowling alley at the Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center.
“It’s freedom. It gets me out doing something I enjoy,’’ said Denly, an Air Force veteran who lives in Farmington, Iowa.
WWII veteran Paul Tell shows a couple of volunteers with Greater St. Louis Honor Flight a book of photographs he took as a young soldier in Europe, after a special film screening hosted by the organization.
When you think of World War I heroes, you likely picture generals and fighter pilots. But a playwright who penned Mustard Seed Theatre’s upcoming production wanted to salute a group of men in the trenches.
During World War II, thousands of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers took to the skies daily. The planes were a crucial part of campaigns, from the bombing of Dresden to D-Day, and were flown by the likes of Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart and Lt. Col. Basil Hackleman.
Hackleman, who now lives in Springfield, Mo., was the original pilot of the Nine-o-Nine, a celebrated B-17 that is said to have never lost a crew member or abort a mission because of mechanical failure. The plane was scrapped after the war.
People often call Todd Nicely a hero, but the 30-year-old Marine combat veteran would prefer that they didn’t.
Nicely, who lost his arms and legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan four years ago, says the heroes of the 13-year war on terror are the 6,841 U.S. service members who have died while serving their country since Sept. 11.
“If they want to call me an inspiration because of the things I have to do on a daily basis, fine. I’ll take that,’’ says Nicely. “But hero? No. I have friends who are heroes. The guys who aren’t coming home -- those are the heroes.”
St. Louis held its annual Veterans Day Observance downtown Saturday. For the first time in 31 years, all of the parade marshals were women.
The celebration began on a solemn note with a formal ceremony in front of the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum. Bells rang and bugle taps played in memory of POWs and soldiers who went missing in action.
“When you go to a networking interview and a hiring manager asks you what you want to do, ‘What do you need done?’ is not a good answer,” Jim Craig explains. But “that’s the military mentality,” he says from experience.
Craig is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and is currently an associate teaching professor and chair of the Department of Military and Veterans Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.