Published on Saturday, 01 December 2012 14:45
These words from nearly 70 years ago ring again in Lawrence Huschle’s ears. Not because of haunting wartime memories. But, rather, because he finally was awarded the Purple Heart he earned when he was injured June 13, 1943, when his plane was shot down and he broke his back parachuting out of it. Troy Huschle spent two years fighting for the long-overdue award for his grandfather. He took over where Lawrence’s brother Ray left off. They were told it was impossible, but they didn’t stop. Only one member of Huschle’s crew was still alive, Ed Dostie. He wrote a letter that served as testimony to the plane being shot down. That was the key evidence that turned things around. Lawrence’s Purple Heart injury could not have been proved at the time, as he was a prisoner of war for just short of two years. The fracture in his spine was not discovered until medical examination in Texas many weeks after his liberation from the Germans. It was caused by his parachute as he was twisted and jerked after baling out of his plane. A chip of bone still floats somewhere in Huschle’s spine. By May 24 this year, it seemed that all the requirements for a Purple Heart had been satisfied. Thursday, Nov. 8, Huschle received a package by mail that contained a folder with two Purple Heart certificates (one a duplicate), and a case with the Purple Heart medal. No fuss, no fanfare.