Local Author Publishes Third Book of Veterans’ World War II Stories
Aug08

Local Author Publishes Third Book of Veterans’ World War II Stories

Book Signing Nov. 3 to Connect Public with Featured WWII Veterans Indiana author Kayleen Reusser has just completed her third book of veterans’ World War II stories, called We Gave Our Best: American World War II Veterans Tell Their Stories. As with the previous two books in the legacies series, area residents will have an opportunity to meet several of the veterans featured in the newly-released book at an upcoming event scheduled to coincide with the Veterans Day holiday. A book-signing event will take place on Saturday, November 3, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza in downtown Fort Wayne. The public is invited to attend. We Gave Our Best: American World War II Veterans Tell Their Stories is a compilation of stories from 34 World War II veterans representing several branches of the military. All of the surviving veterans featured in the book will be invited to attend the book-signing event to sign their respective stories, providing a unique keepsake that can be treasured for generations to come. Reusser says that up to 20 of the 34 veterans featured in her current book could potentially attend the book signing, but unfortunately the others either live out of state, are too weak to travel, or have passed away since she interviewed them. Reusser notes that with all of the remaining World War II veterans being over 90 years of age, the number of available veterans diminishes each year. Reusser says that most veterans featured in her books are either Hoosier natives or grew up elsewhere and currently reside in Indiana. Those in her current book come from 10 Indiana counties, but six other states also are represented, including Washington, Iowa, New Mexico, Louisiana, Florida, and California. All of Reusser’s World War II books will be available for purchase at the book signing as well as through Amazon.com. The books feature war vignettes written by Reusser based on hundreds of interviews with World War II veterans. Also included in the books are photographs taken by veterans during World War II, providing a historical account through the eyes of those who served. “The books give a personal feel to an important time in world history,” said Reusser, adding that “The November 3 book-signing party will be a rare opportunity to meet these historical figures who helped change history.” Reusser also announces that she is publishing a second edition of her first World War II legacies book, which she has renamed We Fought to Win: American World War II Veterans Share Their Stories. The second edition will have a newly-designed cover to match the...

Read More
A Look Back at Honor Flight Northeast Indiana
Oct04

A Look Back at Honor Flight Northeast Indiana

Walking through the throngs of people last Wednesday night, one could almost be forgiven for mistaking the modest Fort Wayne airport for the sight of an enthusiastic Fourth of July or Memorial Day parade. Hundreds of people – young, old, and everywhere in between – filled the normally quiet and quaint airport terminal with American flags, banners, signs, flowers, and more. Although it was late on a Wednesday night, those in attendance were in a jovial mood as they smiled, hugged, laughed, and prepared to welcome home the men and women who were returning from our nation’s capital. Confused travelers who were arriving to the airport after their normal, everyday flights would look around and wonder what on Earth they were witnessing. The trip was organized by Honor Flight Northeast Indiana, a chapter of the non-profit Honor Flight Network, which provides aging veterans with the honor and closure that many might not have received, even after many years had passed since their service. In 2016 alone, the network flew over 20,000 veterans to Washington DC. By the end of 2017 that number is expected to surpass 200,000 since its inception in 2005. On Wednesday night, many veterans walked off the planes with a sense of pride and patriotism that one could assume they hadn’t felt in a long time. Watching the ever-dwindling number of proud World War II and Korean War veterans moving through the terminal, many in wheelchairs, I was taken aback by a deep sense of melancholy. Frail old men and women who wanted one more chance to pay respect to those they served with. Travelling to the hallowed ground in our nation’s Capital alongside their “guardian,” a family member or volunteer who accompanied them on their journey. One veteran I spoke with, a Marine who fought in Vietnam in 1966-67, said that he’d heard of the Honor Flight organization before, but nothing could’ve prepared him for what he encountered at the airport. “This is unreal,” he told me. “The public was so against the war when I got back that I never thought I’d see anything like this.” It became apparent throughout the course of our conversation that the emotion of the moment was getting to him. It was okay, I told him. It’s getting to me as well. My generation of veterans, although we don’t like to admit it, is spoiled. We’ve enjoyed general public support both during our time in the military and as veterans, and while that same public’s support for the wars and policies that dictate troop movements and actions will ebb and flow, America’s support for its military has remained consistent...

Read More