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World War II Prisoner of War to Speak at WW II Event in Derby on June 14

Francis Angier of Williston,  a former World War II prisoner of war (POW) who lived for a time in Newport, will serve as the guest speaker at an event to recognize the veterans of World War II. The “Salute to the Veterans of World War II” will take place on Saturday, June 14 at the Elks Lodge in Derby at 1 pm.                                                                 

Scott and Penny Wheeler and their family of Derby, along with the Elks Lodge in Derby, will host the event at the  Elks Lodge on the Derby Road in Derby. This event is free and open to the public.  Last year the Wheelers hosted the Korean/Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day. They were joined in this effort by the Elks and VFW Post 798 in Newport. Also in recent years the Wheelers joined others to help raise money to send veterans of World War II to the then-recently unveiled monument to that war in Washington, D.C. The family is also the owner of Vermont's Northland Journal.                                                                                                                                                 

During WW II  the B-17 bomber that Angier was piloting on a bombing mission over Germany was shot down by enemy fire. Bailing out of his crashing plane, he was severely injured in a hard landing. Angier was captured and taken as a prisoner of war by the Wehrmacht (German Army). The following is a short excerpt from the book the retired military officer wrote, “Ready or Not: Into the Wild Blue”. It shows what greeted he and the other surviving crew members of the plane when they parachuted to the German countryside.                                                                                                                                                              

“A party of about 20 people started down the hill after the bombs went off. The first people to reach me called me names and yanked me to a sitting position in the road, kicked me repeatedly and when they had knocked me over, stomped on me, some of them shouted with sarcasm and anger, liberator! Terrortlieger! Gangster bastard!...”

The villagers handed their captives over to the Wehrmacht . It was the beginning of Angier's life as a POW and his struggle to stay alive.                                                                                                     

A number of other people plan to speak at the event, including veterans and people who survived the horrors of growing up in a war torn countries during the war. Veterans and non-veterans are encouraged to attend.                                                             

As with last year's event, the salute to the veterans who served in WWII will not only serve as a time to honor them, but it will also provide the veterans with the opportunity to share with us their stories and mementos of this horrible war.  Tables will be available for veterans to display their reminders of a war that helped shape their lives.

People with questions, or wishing to donate to the event, can contact Scott Wheeler at (802) 334-5920 or by e-mail at [log in to unmask].

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