The Perkins-Tryon High School Alumni Banquet was held Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. The theme was "Honoring Our Veterans." Several veterans brought pictures of military days, military hats, and other mementos. Two veterans wore their uniforms and looked good, ready for inspection!
Clifford Hall, Class of 1941, and veterans of World War II, was there. Wayne Allen, Class of 1948, told about one of Clifford's experiences in the war.
Many years after the war, a friend of Wayne, Vernon Lewis, found a VCR movie clip showing the first bomber that was shot down over Germany. It was about July 1943. Apparently the movie was taken from another Army Air Corps plane. It showed crew men bailing out of the damaged plane. One of the crew men was identified as Clifford Hall.
It was some years ago when Vernon Lewis found the movie clip and gave it to Wayne. It was Vernon's desire that Clifford would receive the movie.
Wayne talked with some of Clifford's relatives in Perkins, and then called Clifford on the phone. Clifford lived at Tahlequah at the time, and Clifford verified that it was the bomber he was in when it was shot down. Clifford had no idea that the event had been filmed.
Clifford then told Wayne the rest of the story over the phone. Wayne then mailed the film to Clifford.
There were four crew members who parachuted out. The rest of the crew went down with the plane. Clifford was the last of the four to bail out.
After the four hit the ground, some German farmers chased them with pitchforks, but they escaped. After hiding 15 days in the forest, they were captured and held in a prison camp for 22 months until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.
Clifford came to the P-T Alumni Banquet Saturday evening and Wayne got to meet him in person. Wayne told the story for the banquet crowd. It was very appropriate for the banquet theme, "Honoring Our Veterans."
Another veteran story was told by Raymond Kinzie, Class of 1943. Raymond was one of the honored graduates.
The week of December 7, 1941, the U. S. declared war on Japan and Germany. Raymond remembers the announcement being made in the study hall in the old high school building. He was a junior in high school at the time.
Raymond was drafted into the Navy in 1944. He was assigned to the 35th Naval Seabees and sent to the Philippine Islands near Manila. The unit built an airfield there.
At the close of the war, Raymond was at that airfield when he saw a military person that looked familiar. Upon approaching him, he found that it was DeWayne Luster, also from Perkins. DeWayne was waiting to catch a plane back to his assigned base. It was a glad time for both Raymond and DeWayne to have a short visit with each other so far away from home.
These two stories were a part of a good alumni banquet last Saturday night. Other interesting stories were told also.
The event was a good chance to see old friends and renew acquaintances. Those of you readers there that I did not get to greet in person, I send you greetings and best wishes!