Jackson Rotary Club honors veterans
JACKSON, TENN (WNBJ)-
The Jackson Rotary Club held a special meeting today to honor veterans. Jerry Powell shared his dad’s story with those in attendance.
By choice, Graddy Powell served in the Army Aircore 555th bomb squadron during World War two.
“It just makes me more proud that he gave service before self and was willing to go up to Germany for 21 missions and try to break the Nazi hold,” Jerry Powell said.
On Powell's 21st flight mission, his plane was shot down. After surviving the crash, he was beaten almost to death by a German woman- before being rescued and imprisoned by a police officer. For seven months, Powell was a prisoner of war where Natzis nearly starved him to death.
Jerry Powell said, “They woke up one morning. The camp was empty. The gates were open, and the Russians showed up and put them all back in the camp. And we're going to take them all back to Moscow.”
General Patton eventually led American troops to rescue Powell and others.
When Powell got back to west Tennessee, he didn’t share much about what he experienced.
“My dad was like so many of the World War Two generations who didn't talk much about it. I thought that was just his role," Jerry Powell said.
Jerry believes that Veterans Day is a reminder that we have our freedoms because of his father and the thousands of others that served, “A lot of what we take for granted today, what they really valued, and freedom is not free. And my dad was willing to serve and sacrifice and serve his country.”
Graddy Powell received the Purple Heart Medal for what he endured during the war.