Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Forces Veteran Absalom H. Kelly. Absalom served during WWII.
Absalom enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1942. He completed basic training in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and then went on to complete advanced aerial gunner training in Texas. He was then assigned to a unit out of Salt Lake City and later became part of the 8th Army Air Force. Absalom flew more than 30 missions, earning his air crew wings. On May 9, 1944, Absalom and his crew members were shot down over Belgium and taken prisoner by the Germans. The Germans forced Absalom and his fellow soldiers to march for 86 days across Germany and interned them in Stalag Luft IV by the Polish border. The Germans did not feed Absalom and other prisoners very much and forced them to sleep in unheated barns during the extreme cold of winter.
Absalom was liberated by the British on May 2, 1945 and then took a German jeep and drove to the American lines, reaching those on May 8, 1945, the day the war ended. He was discharged as a Technical Sergeant in September of 1945. After the war, Absalom struggled with alcoholism but has not had a drink since June of 1950, a fact that he is proud of. He went to trade school to become an electrician and he held many jobs in that field, often working two at the same time. Absalom also married his wife, Mary Anderson, and they had two children together. He still keeps in contact with his fellow prisoners. More of his story can be found at http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.01178/.
Thank you for your service, Absalom!
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Graphic By Lilian Vo: Lilian Vo is an undergraduate senior at George Mason University studying Global Affairs and Intelligence Analysis.