By Allen Hamrick
There is a lot of history being forgotten as time goes on, either through loss of interest or just a plain ‘who cares what happened’ attitude. It is important to remember those that have come and gone throughout the ages that played an important part in writing our history. Some of the history associated with this country has been debated heavily in classrooms and on front porches for generations – events that happened at a particular time or place or different perspectives of an event. From the Revolutionary War to the present, it’s all relevant. There are very few survivors right now in this country that have eye witness accounts of WWII. When those veterans are gone so, too, will be the history and their first hand individual accounts. Some might say, “Who cares? That’s in the past.” If, in fact, each person on this Earth had to endure the hardships of a nation under fire, attitudes towards those that lived it would be of remembrance and honor. Those that lived it are in their 90’s now, and time just moves on.
In Clay, a person can count those individuals on one hand. It is an honor to enjoy the company of one of those individuals who gave of themselves, of their time and of their sacrifice. William Bernard Lane of Fola is one of the last survivors of WWII in Clay County.
He was on hand Thursday at Tudors Biscuit World to share his words of wisdom with future generations and to accept an honor quilt designed and gifted by the Braxton County Quilters Guild. Sherry Ortiz, one of the quilters and long time friend of Mr. Lane, presented the quilt as friends and family looked on. Mr. Lane served from 1943- 1946 as a private first class and survived one of the most terrible battles of the war…the Battle of the Bulge. He travelled from New York to France during his time in the military and also was one of the few who survived the sinking of the Leopoldville.
William Bernard Lane, now 97, seems to live each day with one thing in mind and that’s to live it to the fullest and to put a smile on the face of anyone who meets him, and that he can do. So, if in your travels you see Mr. Lane sitting and having breakfast or lunch at Tudors, stop by and say hello; a hand shake goes a long way and it doesn’t cost a dime. He is well deserving of this quilt and the respect that is due him for the freedom he preserved for all of us. As one WWII veteran once said to me, “They dropped us off in Africa and yelled FIX BAYONETS. We were waiting on a charge that never comes and was glad because they didn’t give us bullets for our guns.”
Classic stories like that will never be found in a book, so get out and lend an ear to the few that are left, it may just make your day. Just remember, take care that your tongue doesn’t make you deaf.