90-Year-Old WWII POW Remembers Luck, Survival on Veterans Day

6 years 1 month 1 day ago Friday, November 11 2011 Nov 11, 2011 Friday, November 11, 2011 11:38:00 AM CST November 11, 2011 in News
By: Meghann Mollerus
loading

COLUMBIA - As a community converged at the Boone County Courthouse Friday for the MU Joint ROTC 26th Annual Veterans Day Parade and Vigil, many veterans of Columbia's V.F.W. Post 280 simply reflected on their memories--recollections of fear, death, heroism and sheer survival in the U.S. military. 

WWII veteran Harold Carter laughed as he described himself as a "Navy guy with the third-highest Army medal."  But, Carter's story is nothing to laugh about.  The man, now living in an assisted living center in Columbia, is a former prisoner of war. He operated a ship out of Pearl Harbor for over three years and then was sent to Corregidor in Manila Bay, southwest of the Philippines.  On May 6, 1942, he was captured by the Japanese and sent to Camp 3 of Cabana Duan prison for five months.  He then was taken on a Japanese prison ship for 30 days to a new prison in Manchuria, where he lived in what he describes as wretched conditions.  On Aug. 20, 1945, the Russians liberated Manchuria, and Carter was free.  Even on his journey back to the U.S., Carter didn't know the extent of his luck.  Had the Russians arrived nine days later, Carter would be dead.  His execution at the prison was set for Aug. 29, 1945.

In 2005, Carter journeyed back to Japan, accompanied by his late wife, son, President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush.  He said the Japanese treated him "like King."  Like many of his fellow veterans, Carter has found not only closure, but the good that has come out of what happened to him.  He said the experience taught him courage, strength and humility.

Post 280 WWII Navy veteran Bill Vaughn echoed Carter's mentality.  "That experience was the best I ever had."

The V.F.W. held a breakfast Friday morning, and about 50 of 689 Post 280 veterans, including Vaughn and his Vietnam veteran sons, attended.  Columbia V.F.W. Post Commander and Vietnam veteran Don Briggs helped coordinate the breakfast and a Post 280 Honor Guard to participate in the county's Veterans Day events. Following the event, Briggs and other Honor Guard members of Post 280 participated in the 11 a.m. Boone County Court House ceremony.  

Though Briggs said Post 280 is focusing on celebrating the heroism of veterans, both alive and deceased, he does not dilute the grimmer reality of what today also represents--years of war, casualties and a unified fight for a country.  This fight and its associated memories have befallen many veterans with a price.  As Briggs described, "It can get to you after a while."

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Firefighters have found two bodies while battling a blaze in a Kansas City, Kansas, home.... More >>
37 minutes ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:53:16 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
CARTHAGE (AP) — A former employee of a Carthage rehabilitation center was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 10:38:59 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police found 23 individually vacuum-sealed plastic bags of marijuana on Monday in a package delivered by FedEx. ... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 10:22:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — A Missouri woman has been charged in the drowning death of her 6-month-old son. The... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:54:03 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An Illinois man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in the fatal shooting of... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:43:49 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Janesville police say the victim of a homicide was stabbed at least 30 times. ... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:37:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Fire crews have found a woman dead while putting out a fire in a suburban... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:28:02 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Board of Adjustment will hear from the public Tuesday morning about issuing a conditional... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 6:42:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - It's a topic that many people shy away from, but one man came to Columbia to talk about... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 8:25:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Terron Wings says he considers himself blessed he can now call himself an “American taxpayer.” Wings, 37,... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:27:27 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A Special Olympics Missouri plan nearly a decade in the making could become a reality as soon as... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in Sports
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education voted to approve ballot language for a $30 million bond issue Monday night... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:01:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – High winds and dry conditions warranted additional safety precautions for fire safety Monday in central Missouri. The... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 6:04:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
RENICK – The Beamer family was on the porch of their Randolph County home at the beginning of the storm... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 5:21:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
ROCHEPORT - Consolidated Water issued a boil order advisory for parts of Howard County Monday due to a water main... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 4:29:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
ORONOGO (AP) — Homeowners living near a gun range in southwest Missouri are concerned about stray bullets that have been... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 3:32:30 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - When someone goes to the doctor for a checkup, they might expect the regular look at their eyes,... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 3:15:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri is using mobile pantries to provide food to areas that... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 3:00:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 32°
1pm 34°
2pm 36°
3pm 38°
4pm 38°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
12:30p
Inside Edition
1:00p
Days of Our Lives
12:00p
Jerry Springer
1:00p
Maury
2:00p
Maury

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas
9:00p
Chicago Med
7:00p
Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown 2017
8:00p
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld