Gerald Fullom served in the U.S. Army as a forward observer with the 99th infantry division. He was captured by the Wermacht on December 18, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. He was then held captive at Stalag 4-B in Germany until he was liberated on Memorial Day in 1945. His boots were taken by his captors to prevent escape, and as a result of this Gerald suffered frostbite in his feet, from which he never fully recovered. He would be plagued by severe foot problems and emotional scars for the rest of his life.
He returned home to Centerville, Pennsylvania after being discharged, where he and his wife built a home. He remained there for the rest of his life, leading a full life of service to his family, church and community, despite his handicap.
I am very proud to have known Gerald, and I only wish I could have known him better. Because he lived nine hours away, I only got to see him when we went home to visit my wife's family a couple of times a year. Even so, he was a constant reminder to me of both the sacrifices of our servicemen and -women and the value of perseverance in the face of adversity. When I get my copy of Battle of the Bulge, it will be dedicated to Gerald Fullom.
"War is much more fun when you're winning!" - General Martok
When the tally is added up, these gems always end up having given so much more than they took. These days, and they are numbered, we can admire these beautiful gems from a distance or even get up so close that we can hold their hands or give them a hug. That’s up to us. We are so lucky to see these gems with all their colors and sizes and especially the sparkles in their eyes.
There is a problem however, and our friend Krieghund (the official answer guy) has just reminded us of this sad reality. With every day that goes by we awake to a world with yet fewer of these precious stones around us. There are fewer of them to touch. There are fewer of them to talk to and joke around with. We can continue to admire them, but now, more and more, it’s only from the distance of memories.
Farewell Mr. Fullom. Thanks again for what you did way back before most of us were even born. You are truly a member of the greatest generation. A generation that will shine so beautifully, perhaps forever.
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