My uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, known to the family simply as "Ebner," [ABE-ner] was a "prince of a guy," my dad said often. He was also a crack navigator on the B-17 Bomber during World War II. In one of Ebner's letters home, he speaks forthrightly of how he coped, facing death from the carpets of FLAK surging toward him over and over, as German fighter planes buzzed the B-17 to shoot it down. Then a tribute to the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which Ebner also wrote home about.
On Veterans Day, I always think of my beautiful, young, handsome Uncle Frank Ebner, whom I never met in person, yet I feel I know intimately. Why? Because I have nearly 300 letters written to and from him from January 1943 to the end of September 1945. Then the letters stopped coming home.
This Memorial Day, I'm remembering two relatives who each served in one of the 20th century's two world wars.
Pearl Harbor was bombed seventy-six years ago today. My mom, Lillian Koroschetz, started a brand new diary on New Year's Eve, 1941 reflecting back on the previous year and the effects the barely three-week-old war was already having on the every-day lives of Americans.
World War II's "Rosie the Riveter" comes alive in this letter to Frank from a gal back in Chicago. She's working on a "beauty of a carburetor" for bombers. I doubt many girls before the war even knew what a carburetor was. The World War II woman became versed in previously male-only arcane knowledge. Another sign of the World War II years: no boys to date. Read on.