Friday, March 27, 2009
Visiting Bertram, Texas and meeting a WWII veteran
Bertram is like many sleepy little towns in central Texas just northwest
of Austin. I took a visit there recently with my Little Brother. Old
buildings still line the downtown area as a reminder of the town's more
prosperous past when cotton and other commodities made it the top town
in the county. The movie theater has long since closed, but invites you
to look inside the window anyway to see if you can catch a glimpse of
the past. The railroad depot across the road on Highway 29 has been
rebuilt to look as it did from days gone by.
We ate at the Hungry Moose Pizzeria, known for great pizzas and Blue Bell ice cream. Joe Ware Sr., the owner's father, came in and sat with us as he shared a few of his experiences on the USS Colorado while stationed in the Philippine Islands. I am always honored to meet a veteran, especially those that served in WWII. He told of his life on the ship, visiting the many islands, and battles against the Japanese. He slept in the mess hall, as men had to sleep wherever they could. On at least two occasions, Japanese kamikazes barely missed ramming into the ship. On another occasion, he had just gotten off duty, and the sailor who took his place where he was the moment before was hit and killed by enemy fire. Young men like him, Joe Ware and others aboard the USS Colorado are our Greatest Generation, and the reason why we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. I have plans to one day put together a book on WWII veterans' accounts, and why it's so important for us to always remember.
Take your time visiting Bertram, and meander around the antique stores, the old groceries, and also pay a visit to the Hungry Moose Pizzeria, and you may just get a chance to meet one of America's heroes.