An Episcopal lay reader in WW2 who fell from the sky into the hearts of people where he landed

Fred Hargesheimer was shot down in the southwest Pacific on June 5, 1943. A lifetime later, he sits in his quiet California ranch house amid the snow and soaring sugar pines of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The light blue eyes, at age 91, can’t see as well as they once did. But when he looks back over 65 years, the smiling Minnesotan sees it all clearly ”” the struggle to survive, the native rescuers, the Japanese patrols and narrow escapes, the mother’s milk that saved him. He remembers well his return to New Britain, the people’s embrace, the fundraising and building, the children taught, the adults cured, the happy years beside the Bismarck Sea with Dorothy, his wife.

“I’m so grateful for getting shot out of the sky,” he said.

Garua Peni is grateful, too, as a member of those once-future generations here on New Britain.

“I thank God from the depths of my heart for blessing me in such an abundant way when He brought Suara Auru Fred Hargesheimer,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

4 comments on “An Episcopal lay reader in WW2 who fell from the sky into the hearts of people where he landed

  1. Ralinda says:

    Thanks for posting this wonderful story. The local paper edited out some of the “more Christian” details, so I’m glad I was able to read the whole story here.

  2. dl says:

    A wonderful reminder that the recitation of liturgy and lectionary burns the words of life into our memory, and the power of God’s word to give hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. This story is a real day-brightener.

  3. Alli B says:

    What a great story. Thanks!

  4. yohanelejos says:

    This is a wonderful story on so many fronts — including the honorable decision of a Japanese pilot, at the end, to not kill a defenseless man.