Quite the honor

BY ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes This July 4, four U.S. Armed Forces veterans with Keizer ties are feeling especially patriotic. The quartet – Jerry Bowerly (Navy), Alfred Bochsler (Air Force), Paul Morgan (Navy) and Ed Bietshek (Air Force) – took part in an Honor Flight of Oregon allowing them to visit numerous memorials and museums in Washington D.C. in late May. The trips are designed specifically for World War II veterans to visit the national war monuments. Bowerly, Morgan and Bietshek were interviewed about the experience two weeks ago. “We were strangers in the beginning and we were all buddies by the time we came back. The esprit de corps was almost immediate,” said Morgan, 89. For Bowerly, it was the WWII memorial itself that left the biggest impression. “There are so many parts that represent so many things about the war. On the Wall of Gold, there’s 448 stars and they all represent 100 men who died. It’s stunning and it’s all handmade,” Bowerly, 95, said. Each of the men performed very different roles in service of the country. Bietshek had wanted to join the Navy for much of his teenage years. But when he went to enlist, in early 1942, color blindness kept him out of the loop. He turned 18 in October that year and was drafted by Christmas. Still intent on joining the...

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