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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.
Train depot in Bertram, Texas
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.
WWII veteran Joe Ware Sr. in his son's pizza shop in Bertram, Texas Joe Ware as a young man in the Navy.
USS Colorado received 7 battles stars for service during WWII
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.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 11:32 PM
Edited on: Friday, March 27, 2009 11:49 PM
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