War on Their Minds
  Raymond D. Bowman
Age in 1941: 23

Gladys Bowman
Age in 1941: 14

Interview Team: Melanie Gaffney, Veronica Moy
  2001



Melanie Gaffney: This is Melanie Gaffney, I am here with my partner, Veronica Moy, and we are interviewing Mr./Mrs. Bowman in room H8 at Wayland High School. The date is May 9th, 2001.

Veronica Moy: All right, we are just going to reintroduce ourselves. I’m Veronica and this is Melanie, and we just need you to reintroduce yourselves for the tape.

Mrs. Bowman: I’m Gladys Bowman, and this is my husband Raymond Bowman.

Q: What was your approximate age in 1941?


Mrs. Bowman: 14.
M: Do you know how old you were?
(R)aymond Bowman: In 1938...

Mrs. Bowman: no 1941, 1941

Mr. Bowman: Oh, let's see..

Mrs. Bowman: Has to do the math in his head..[laughs]

Mr. Bowman: Well, in 1941, it wasn’t when I went into service. I went in um, I had to stay out..

Mrs. Bowman: Well, this wasn’t what she asked you Ray, she asked you what age you were in 1941.

Q: Just an approximatation.


Mrs. Bowman: Well he was born 1918.

Mr. Bowman: Yeah, 1918.


Mrs. Bowman: And I was born 1927.

Q: Where were you born and raised?

Mrs. Bowman: We were both born and raised in Cape Cod. I was born in Rowley Massachusetts, and I grew up in Chatham, Massachusetts.

Mr. Bowman: I was born in West Falmouth, and brought up in Falmouth schools.

Mrs. Bowman: Oh yes, oh yes, we are Massachusetts residents.

Mr. Bowman: I got out of high school in ‘38, I think it was. But anyway..

Mrs. Bowman: Just wait until they ask you Ray, just wait.

Q: All right, so how aware were you guys of the happenings that were going on in Europe during the 1930’s?

Mrs. Bowman: Actually we didn’t have television in those days. You’d go the movies and they’d show you these newsreels in the movies. That’s the way you saw the things that were happening. And of course the newspapers.

Mrs. Bowman: Same thing with you right? Or did you go to the movies?

Mr. Bowman: What? [chuckles]

Mrs. Bowman: In the 1930’s, did you go to the movies? Probably didn’t have enough time

Mr. Bowman: No, they wouldn’t take me into the service, because I was a lone supporter of my mother at the time. uh, but after Sept. of ...

Mrs. Bowman: No, we’re going back to the 30’s, the question was about the 30’s. How aware of you of what was happening in Europe in the 30’s. Well, his brother went in the service. He went, um, do you remember what year he went? Was it 1938?

Mr. Bowman: No, I didn’t go into the service...

Mrs. Bowman: No, Raymond, when did Clifton go into the service? That’s how we were aware of the war. Clifton joined the army, right?

Mr. Bowman: In 1941, my brother went into service, with the 68th Coast Guard artillery.

Q: How old was your brother when he went into the war?

Mr. Bowman: Let’s see..

Mrs. Bowman: He was young. Oh, let’s see, 1941. Do a little math, he was born in 1920. Okay so he was 21.

Q: Did it have much of an impact on you? Like, him leaving for the war, did it have much of an impact on you?

Mrs. Bowman: Oh yes, because he had to take, support his, their mother.

Mr. Bowman: They wouldn’t take me until back in the 40’s, until they decided they had to take everybody.

Q: So were you drafted or did you volunteer?

Mr. Bowman: I was drafted in 1944. It was in Sept of 1944. They finally decided they had to take everybody. So I went in to Fort Devens, given two weeks training there, then I was sent down to Fort Campbell in Kentucky and I had extensive training there. From there, we went overseas, and we landed in Normandy, in Sept of ‘44, we landed in Normandy. We had..

Mrs. Bowman: All right, that answers the question, let’s go to the next one.

Q: While he was doing all this training in the camps, did you have any role in the war? Did you volunteer anytime?

Mrs. Bowman: No, I didn’t know him or his brother at that time. And not the brother that was in the army, but the one that stayed home, I knew him, and during the war in the 40’s, ‘43, ‘44, I used to be USO jimmy hostess. They had a club house where they could go play Ping-Pong, or sometimes they would have dances and take us up to the Coast Guard stations. And so forth, and so we entertained the service men. And that was my role and what I did.

Q: What was it like saying good-bye to everybody when you got drafted? Was that a difficult thing?

Mr. Bowman: Well, I didn’t have much of a chance to say good-bye to anybody, except for my mother. They were right there with the jeep, right at my house, waiting for my [chuckles]

Q: They just took you away, you didn’t get a letter or anything?

Mr. Bowman: No, they just said, ‘Hey, we got an order to pick you up. You are now in the service, you are under our charge.’

Mrs. Bowman: That was in May, he was inducted

Mr. Bowman: So they took me right to Fort Devens. I was officially inducted there.

Mrs. Bowman: Okay, so you left in May, June, July, August, like three months training before they sent you overseas. In those days they had to do it quickly.

Mr. Bowman: Then I went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky and went overseas.

Q: How was the training?

Mr. Bowman: The training was very rugged. It was needed, because the terrain we into when we landed in Normandy, it was something else, so it was a something else. It was a good thing we had the training.

Q: What were you remembrances of the attack of Pearl Harbor? How did you hear of it?

Mrs. Bowman: I remember, do you?

Mr. Bowman: I’m trying to think about where I was.

Q: How did you hear of it?

Mrs. Bowman: I was outside the afternoon, or early evening. My in-law called, and she called on the phone and said that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. We were in shock.

Mr. Bowman: I think at that time, I was already overseas.

Q: You couldn’t have been Ray, this is Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Bowman: Oh, Pearl Harbor.

Mrs. Bowman: He doesn’t remember.

Q: Why was it a complete shock?

Mrs. Bowman: Well, we just couldn’t imagine people, I mean, we were, isn’t wasn’t a very affluent life, but we were living life. And all of a sudden, the Japanese are attack us. We weren’t even aware that they were thinking of something like that.

Q: What was your attitude towards the Japanese or any of the Europeans on a personal level? like as a child did you ever think that, ‘Oh, I hate those people.’

Mrs. Bowman: No, I think I was very tolerant We lived in a town with different nationalities; Portuguese people, and all that, it didn't bother me.  But when we get into the other aspect of it, I'm going to tell you the story about the prisoners of war. (Directed towards Raymond) Do you remember how you felt about the other nationalities, did you have different feelings?

Mr. Bowman: Um, when I first went into service...

Mrs. Bowman: No, before that.

Mr. Bowman: Even before that, I never gave much thought to another one's nationalities. Once I got drafted into service, I was with Italians, I was with Frenchmen. We had all kinds from all over, uh, allied countries, that were in the service with us, and we trained with them. And, uh, you learned to live with it. And some of them, I learned some of the language from some of them, but I've forgotten (laughs) it over the years.
Q: What were some of the special skills you were taught in the armed forces?

Mr. Bowman: The only special skill we were taught was climbing for one thing, because we found we were going to have to climb up the side of a building and things like that, and those were the things that they taught us. To climb up the side of a building, how to throw a rope up there with an anchor on the end of it and catch it on the roof edge, and use that to climb up onto the roof, and so forth.

Mrs. Bowman: And rifles.

Mr. Bowman: And the rifles.  We were taught how to handle the rifles, how to handle it with a
bayonet on it.  They had dummies set up so you'd run with a rifle with a bayonet on it,
butt it with the end and then stab it with the bayonet.  I mean, there's a lot of things that
they taught, and we had to go through that, and it's a good thing we did. 

Q: How was that? Did you have any experience with the weapons before?  Like, did you go hunting before or anything, before you went into the war?

Mr. Bowman: My father used to go hunting with a 12 gauge shotgun and he used to come home with rabbits.  My mother would skin the rabbit, and gut it and all that.  You know, and then she'd cook it.  Sometimes she'd make it into rabbit pie.  It was like a chicken pie, only made with rabbit. 

Q: But on a personal level, what was this like?

Mr. Bowman: Well, I, myself, didn't have anything to do with any weapons at all in my
life, until I went into service.  They taught me how to use the weapon and so forth. 

Q: Do you remember what the mood of the country was during the war time? 

Mrs. Bowman: Now, what time were you talking about?
Q: During the war.  When you first entered...

Mrs. Bowman: Well, we all were pushing for our country naturally, and the men had to go in the
service, and I would send cookies in a package to my neighbor kid that was in the service. And I found out afterwards all he got was crumbs. (Laughter)  Things like that, we would write letters, and we supported our people that we knew, and all the service men.  Plus people had to go to work, that didn't work before.  They worked in the plants, cause we lived in a country town.  My father went to work over at the army camp and that was a hardship for him because he had to drive 40 miles each way every day. So that was our way on the home front, what we did.

Q: When you said you wrote them letters, were any of the letters that you received or gave them, were any of them marked out?

Mrs. Bowman: No, I don’t know.

Mr. Bowman: I imagine they.. some of the letters I got from friends, some of the relatives, they did write, uh, they were blacked out, a lot of the things were blacked out. They opened the letters and they censored them before they gave them to you.

Q: You received a lot of letters like that?

Mrs. Bowman: No, I didn’t receive a lot, no, no. I’m sure he must have gotten a lot of letters from his mother. All those things were lost when he became prisoner, he lost a lot of those things.
Q: How were your basic needs of clothing, food and shelter affected by the war? Did anything change for you?

Mrs. Bowman: Oh yes, yes, shortages, and we had rationing. That was when I remember we were only allowed so many coupons, things like sugar, coffee, and other things I don’t remember, and I said ‘Well, I liked coffee’ and I said ‘If I’m allowed a coupon for coffee, why can’t I drink coffee?’ (laughs) My mother said, ‘Well, we’ll ask the doctor what he thinks’ and the doctor said ‘it’s not fit for anybody, but if she wants to have it...’ (more laughter)

Mr. Bowman: A lot of the rationing came because most of the good food that they were shipping overseas to our own soldiers that were over there, and of course a lot of it went to the different army camps right here in this country.

Mrs. Bowman: We also had a program where they gave out packages of cheese and surplus foods. They started that, I guess they still do it today, I don’t know. But that’s when it all started, well, actually, it might have been back in the Depression days, I don’t know. But during the war they had these allotments of these things that they would bring to the town, and people could get what they need.

Q: When you were overseas what did you miss most about the United States?

Mrs. Bowman: Your mother.

Mr. Bowman: Yeah, and, of course, I wondered about the whereabouts, where my brother was. I never heard, because he could never write either. He was the 68th Coast Guard artillery. So, he couldn’t write home about where he was or anything like that. We went according to the postmark, and got a general idea of where he was. And the postmark, I found out afterwards, of course, that a lot of the letters they wrote were not mailed in that area. They were sent to another area and got mailed out, so as not to
give away their position.

Q: Your wife mentioned how you were a P.O.W, a prisoner of war. Can you explain that a little?

Mr. Bowman: Yeah, my squad was sent out to Reconata(?) to see what area was heaviest with German soldiers and so forth. And somehow they knew we would be doing something like that, so they opened up a hole, amongst their troops. And we walked right into it. My whole squad. First thing you know, they closed in behind us. That was it.

Mrs. Bowman: This was in France, right?

Mr. Bowman: ‘Drop your weapons, or else’

Q: How long were you a prisoner of war?

Mr. Bowman: Around six, seven and a half or eight months.

Mrs. Bowman: Seven months. He was taken prisoner in November, and he was there through the winter.

Mr. Bowman: We got out on May 5th.

Q: Did it seem like a very long time that you were in there? Seven months is a long time to be held prisoner. Was that tough?

Mr. Bowman: Well, they didn’t have much to give us, food, or anything, but they gave us what they could. One thing that they did was they gave us peels of potatoes, for themselves, they turned around and put the potatoes in a vat and boiled them up and called it potato soup. Of course, when you think about it, the vitamins in potatoes are in the peels. Believe it or not.

Mrs. Bowman: So, actually, they were giving them some nutrition, without realizing it.

Q: So, were you treated well when you were a P.O.W?

Mr. Bowman: Well, when I was first taken prisoner none of us were treated very good, uh, we were beaten over the back with rifles, and if we didn’t move fast enough it bothered them, and things like that. I had scars on my back for quite a long while. But, uh, I don’t think I have too many scars there now.

Mrs. Bowman: They’re still there.

Mr. Bowman: Oh, they’re still there? See, when they beat you over the back with the rifle, the bayonet is still attached to it, so that’s where the scars come from. Most of it.

Q: How were you released? Did troops come up?

Mrs. Bowman: Tell them what you told me today. How you knew something was going on.

Mr. Bowman: All of a sudden in this prison camp we were in, it was in Daninwalda(?), in Germany. 75 miles from Berlin. All of a sudden the fighting seemed to cease a little bit and you could actually hear birds singing. First thing you know we heard rumbling. And the ground was shaking and everybody said, ‘Hey, tanks. I wonder whose they are?’ First thing you know, the tank broke through the brush, with a big white star on it. We knew it was the allies, the U.S. tanks. And two of them came up, there was four rows of them. One right behind the other. And they were so close you couldn’t walk between them. They came up like that. Two of them stayed right there. The rest of them went around and kept on going. And then these two, one went this way and one went this way (gestures) tearing down the barbed wire fence. We knew then that the war was over for us. And the commanders were singing ‘Don’t Fence Me In’. First time I ever heard that song. I’ll always remember that.

Q: Were you brought right home after that?

Mr. Bowman: No, we were taken to Camp Campbell. No, to the harbor in France. Six months there, I spent six months there, ... before they even brought me over here, and what they did, they, uh, the officials in charge, lieutenants, majors, whatever, they’d stand by the food line and they’d run the plates of food down, and if there was too much on the plate they’d point at it and the guy would take it away and bring another one with less on it. We were saying ‘Hey, why all this?’ and he was saying, ‘Well, you’ve been in the prison camp, you’ve had 6 months of malnutrition, so therefore we can’t feed you very rich food. We have to give you a little at a time.’ So that’s what they did.

Mrs. Bowman: Do you remember how much you weighed when you first came back?

Mr. Bowman: I weighed, I think it was 68 pounds.


Mr. Bowman: That was after I got back to the states. I had six months of the kind of eating where they give you a little bit at a time. But they give you all soft food and so forth. We landed in Camp Shanks in New York.

Mrs. Bowman: When you came back into New York, that was a pretty thrilling day, huh?

Mr. Bowman: Oh, sure was! You know,

Mrs. Bowman: They took him over on a ship, brought him back on a plane.

Mr. Bowman: When the ship was getting ready to land, they stayed outside the harbor. And I said ‘What the heck are they waiting for?’ Everyone on board except the crew were ex-P.O.W’s. And we were saying, ‘What the heck are they waiting for? I want to land on U.S. soil!’ The horn blew on shore, so all of a sudden the ship started down the harbor and all along both sides there was boats and people, and they were cheering. And the fellows in the boats were honking their horns. What a greeting it was! It was
pretty good.

Q: So it felt great to be home, huh?

Mr. Bowman: It sure did! It sure really felt good to be home.


Mr. Bowman: We landed on the dock and we said ‘Hey, we’re home!’

Q: We’re just going to go back a little. You said that your neighbor went off to the war. Did any of your relatives besides your brother?

Mrs. Bowman: My father was a veteran of war.

Mr. Bowman: It was during WWI.

Mrs. Bowman: My brother was too young. My brother went into service during the Korean War. He was too young in these days. But they were just teenagers. But I had uncles, my cousin’s husband was killed. Boys I went to school with, like when I was 16, 17 years old I couldn’t go in the service, being a girl, but boys could. Boys could join the Navy. They would lie about their age and pretend that they were 17 because they could join the Navy when they were 17, so a lot of other boys my own age were veterans. They went into service at that time.

Q: Were you able to say good bye to any of the people who went away, though?

Mrs. Bowman: They didn’t give us much chance, like he said, they’re there for you, and I don’t remember saying goodbye. My aspect of this was that he was taken prisoner in Germany, he was a prisoner with the Germans, and we don’t hold anything against the German people. This was the Nazis and the SS. And they were bad. They committed all those atrocities and they took all these people prisoner and didn’t treat them very well.

Mr. Bowman: Most of them they killed.

Mrs. Bowman: A lot of them, they did, a lot of them they suffered from malnutrition like he (Raymond) did. He still feels the effects now, but my point of view is that I lived in a town in Massachusetts and we had up the hill from my house, up the road, there was a laundry. And they would bring the German prisoners from Camp Edward, on a truck, in the back of a truck. Ever see a troop truck? Well, they were all sitting in the back, and they had the canvas covering them. Well, they would bring them there and I would ride on my bicycle up the hill and had to get off and walk. In those days we didn’t have the geared bikes like they do now, so I would get off and be pushing my bicycle up the hill, and these trucks would pass by, bringing the men back. And I could hear them talking to me or saying something to me but they couldn’t be rude people or anything, they didn’t have to be rude, they were talking in German, and it was kind of amusing in a way, because here I am a girl and these guys, they’re looking at girl in this country where they’re prisoners and they’re taken up to this place where they are kept very well, very comfortable, fed well, they have good sleeping quarters, and so forth. While he (Raymond) at the same time, even though I didn’t know him, he’s over there, with their peoples’ control and quite a different aspect.

Q: So they brought people back to the U.S. and held them as P.O.W’s?

Mrs. Bowman: Yeah, he (Raymond) was a P.O.W, they (the German soldiers) were P.O.W’s, there’s a difference, they were war prisoners, and eventually they were taken back to Germany.

Q: You said earlier how you received news by watching movies of the war..

Mrs. Bowman: News reels.

Q: Was there any one particular battle that might have stood out to you? That might have shocked you the most, besides Pearl Harbor? But were there any other separate battles that might have affected you a lot?

Mrs. Bowman: I remember when they went into Colon. There were pictures in the newspapers too, and they made a little joke out of it, said ‘I want Colon’. And then you’d see the soldiers rolling into Colon, which is in France, and they went in to relieve the French people. I think that stands out most in my mind. Of course, then we heard about the bomb. The atomic bomb.

Q: Were you ever involved in direct combat?

Mr. Bowman: Oh, yeah.

Q: How was that? Was that a very frightening experience?

Mr. Bowman: It was really hectic. There were Germans everywhere. To tell you the truth, I don’t even remember whether I killed any of the Germans or not.

Mrs. Bowman: Tell them about the cow. You were on the front lines and you’d been firing at the . . . tell them the story about the cowbell, no, you don’t remember that story?

Mr. Bowman: A lot of this stuff I don’t remember.

Mrs. Bowman: Well, they heard noises and then they went in after it, and it turned out to be a cow. (laughter) I guess he doesn’t remember. I thought it was an interesting story anyway.

Q: Do you remember anything you can tell us?

Mr. Bowman: Oh, I think I remember it now, that this was when we were on the front lines, uh, we were expecting an attack at any time so what we had done during the daytime was we had strung some barbed wire fence all along our front line and hung tin cans on them, empty ration cans, and put little stones in them so that the Germans come up and we’d stab them, they couldn’t get by there, cause they’d rattle the cans and all of a sudden we’d open up with machine guns. And anything else we had to shoot at. And we couldn’t see what we were shooting at. Well, one morning we heard, well, during the night, we heard the rattling and all of a sudden we heard the machine guns started firing and we got our rifles out and started firing in different directions, hoping we’ll hit something, you know. Come morning, we woke up... there’s a dead cow out there against the fence!! (laughter)

Q: That must have been scary, though, not knowing where to shoot or what to do. That must have been frightening, not to know where to shoot.

Mr. Bowman: Well, it is, it was dark. Especially when it’s dark and there’s no moon out. And it was cold.

Q: Did you perceive any of the media’s coverage of the war as being truthful? Or propaganda? Or a little bit of both?

Mrs. Bowman: We were told to be careful about propaganda. I suppose, in school, and hospitals, and we had service centers, on Cape Cod, too, right near where I lived, it was the radio station, it was made by the Navy. And we had coast guard stations and we had an army camp up on the hill in town, and then Camp Edward was about 40 miles away, so we had a lot of service centers around. So, you had to be careful, in case of a black out, we had to have these dark shades on the windows, so that we wouldn’t have any light shining at night, cause we were afraid that they might come over and attack us. And, like, we heard reports of submarines. There had been a submarine off of Cape Cod, and in those days you didn’t know how true it was, you had to be careful not to believe things, you know, that might not be true.

Q: Since you live right on the coast, near the Atlantic Ocean, were you taught any procedures in school, just in case?

Mrs. Bowman: We had to have air raids, in our towns we had guards that were like, what did they call them? Well, anyway, there was an air raid person, I can’t think of his title right now, kind of like a security guard or something, and he would be the head of defending our town, and they would call these alerts sometimes just for practicing, and make sure that everybody was ready.

Q: Now, living near the coast, did you know anybody who was maybe older or who had physical injuries from going to war, and they actually served in the civil defense?

Mrs. Bowman: That was the word, civil defense, (laughter)

Q: Were there a lot of posts set up in Falmouth and on the Cape?

Mrs. Bowman: Every town, every locality had to have, of course being on the coast, they had a patrol on the beach, the Navy patrolled. And the Navy wasn’t there, the Army was there. They had to patrol all of the beaches and one of the kids I went to school with, in high school, around your age, back in these days, there was this kid who was into science. And he built some kind of a bomb or something on the beach and he got himself into big trouble!! Because they said ‘Well, you know, you can’t do that’ because we were at war and it was more serious.

Q: Did you have any certain precautions you made, like lights out after a certain time every night to prevent any visual...

Mrs. Bowman: Yeah, we had the black out shades. All complete black out.

Q: So, you had a police chief or police like person, who was walking around the town, going to every house saying lights out?

Mrs. Bowman: No, not every house, just generally on your own, really. But they had a civil defense person to make sure that everything was okay.

Q: Was the role of women changed in any way during the war?

Mrs. Bowman: Oh, yes, I think so.

Q: Can you explain a little?

Mrs. Bowman: Oh, I think we gained some of our independence. Because we were always controlled by men all the time, and they finally realized that women were pretty necessary and they could be helpful and some would go more than they could do, to help, to do their part. I definitely think so, yes.

Mr. Bowman: And, uh, I think now they still have women military groups.

Mrs. Bowman: In those days, in WWII, there were only nurses in service.

Mr. Bowman: Now you have service women. And they carry rifles, they know the whole works.

Q: At the end of the war, did you anticipate any wars in the future? Were you thinking that there were other ways to possibly settle conflicts?

Mrs. Bowman: I don’t think so. I know, myself, I remember VJ-Day, when it was declared over. Everybody was on the street dancing and I was crying. I was crying because I was afraid it was going to happen again.

Q: That brings me to my next point. Were you aware of the internment of the 110,000 Japanese Americans in detention camps?

Mrs. Bowman: I don’t think we knew much about it, we didn’t get much knowledge, because we didn’t have television, all we had were the news reels, and the newspaper, so, I was aware, but probably not as much as later on.

Q: When were you aware of the internment of Jews in Europe?

Mrs. Bowman: I really don’t remember, I mean, we weren’t that much aware of what was happening with the Jews. That I can recall, it was all over.

Q: What were they telling you? Why were you fighting this war? What was the reason for America’s joining into the war, besides the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

Mrs. Bowman: Well, it was because of Germany. It just got to the point where we just had to do something, because they were trying to take England, then France, and Poland, and so our country just had to do something to free people.

Mr. Bowman: Thinking of the Jews reminds me of what we did for three Jews that were taken prisoner with us. We told them to forget their names. The lieutenant collected the wallets of most of the fellows that had been killed, so he’d have the names written down, so he’d know who he could report to say that they were no longer alive. So what he did with these three Jews, was he gave them each one of those pocket books of the deceased. He gave them their names. And took some of the clothing with the
name on the pocket, and gave them the shirt to put on to go along with the pocket book, and we saved the lives of three.

Mrs. Bowman: You weren’t even aware then that they had taken them.

Mr. Bowman: We knew that, we did find out that they were killing them all, they were burning them. Alive. They would put them in these crematories.

Mrs. Bowman: ...I don’t think it was one of the things that we were concerned about at that time.
We didn’t realize how serious it was. Until afterwards.

Mr. Bowman: The Germans hated the Jews for some reason or other. That’s why they were doing it. Hitler’s SS troop was not the German people.

Q: When you were fighting in the war, did you make friends and did you keep in touch afterwards?

Mrs. Bowman: At first there was a call from Rhode Island we used to hear from, Bradford Rhode Island, I can’t remember his name, William something, and then there was this fellow that was in Statan Island when we went to New Jersey and we saw them a couple of times. And just recently, we heard from a man that was a prisoner with him, I think it was him, and he lives down in Virginia and he called one day on the phone, and we haven’t made contact with him or anything, but we sent Christmas cards to him.
Right now, that’s the only one I know that we could get in touch with.

Q: How do you think that today’s generation is different from yours when you were younger and were teenagers?

Mrs. Bowman: I could see a lot of difference. As I was in high school, for one thing we were poor, people now a days, and my own children and my grandchildren are so much more affluent than we were. I grew up in the Depression days, and a lot of the time, you know, we didn’t have all the luxuries that you have now. Basically I think that’s the main difference. Plus attitude is something that has developed in your generation, I would say there is a difference there. You have more knowledge than we did.

Q: How did you react to the news of Roosevelt’s death?

Mrs. Bowman: Well, I remember that that was really sad. I don’t remember too much about that day... Just sad, I don’t remember much about that time.

Q: How did you view the veterans upon their return home?

Mrs. Bowman: Oh, well we were happy for them to be back. Plus, that’s one thing he did, to join the Veterans’ organization, he belongs to three of them. And I belong to the Auxiliaries of three of them, and we’ve done all the things we can, we used to go up to the hospital and volunteer, we don’t do that anymore. But we’ve done a lot of work, spent a lot of money and a lot of time, to deal with the Veterans of all the wars.

Q: Did you learn any lessons from WWII, any important lessons you’d like to share with us?

Mrs. Bowman: Hmm, as a country we have to learn to be more self-sufficient.

Mr. Bowman: Yeah, let’s not have any more wars (laughter). But what it says in the Bible, ‘There’ll be wars and rumbles of wars, until there’ll be one great war.’

Q: Do you anticipate any future wars or does it seem that the countries will find other means of settling conflicts now?

Mrs. Bowman: I feel badly for those people that live in those countries that can’t seem to get along But hopefully, our country, we can keep from being in the war. I feel badly that live in those countries, its so sad, especially those African countries. They want to fight, its just the way they have to be, its just their culture or something, they just can’t help it. I mean these are civilized people, why can’t they find a way to get along? I feel badly about that, I really do.

Q: Do you have any parting advice that you’d like to share with the youth today?

Mrs. Bowman: To be more tolerant, and no fighting. Just learn to get along. Like these things in the schools, it’s so sad. If they have only gotten to those kids and reasoned with them, they don’t have to kill someone to get even. Just talk it out, rational talking is probably one way of discussing things out

Mr. Bowman: It all has to do with the big shots, the ones in charge. The president, the vice president, and so forth. If they don’t get along, then they’ll all end up in a war.

Q: Is there anything you regret doing or not doing during the war?

Mrs. Bowman: I wanted to go in the Navy, but I was a girl, and they wouldn’t let me. So I took a college course in high school, so I could become a nurse and go into the service. That’s what I wanted to do, but I always said that if I’d been a boy, I would’ve gone to the Navy.

Mr. Bowman: You know what she did? She got married instead (laughter)

Mrs. Bowman: Well, of course you couldn’t have done anything different, they sent you overseas and you were in war, and all that other stuff, so you really couldn’t have done anything different.

Well, thank you so much for coming here. Thank you once again.

 


Mr. Bowman describes his POW days in a German camp. (Quicktime)