Remembering World War II veteran Al Edwards

Veterans Voices

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – He stormed the beaches of Normandy and educated school children about his Navy experience. Al Edwards didn’t hesitate to share his story.

Sadly, Al passed away in early 2020. His daughter is sharing the Seabee’s story once again.

When Al was interview back in 2019 about storming the beaches of Normandy 75 years prior, he said, “I’ve had an enjoyable life. I’m glad I got to serve my country.”

His daughter, Janet Ostermeyer, is still going through her father’s belongings and reminiscing about his stories.

“He himself was scared to death, they said. He thought he would never get home. He said he never prayed so much in his life. He would always say, “Jan there’s no atheists in fox holes,” he says, “Everybody out there was always praying to get home,”” said Janet.

Those are some of the stories Janet didn’t get to hear for the longest time.

“In his day, they didn’t talk about the war. I talked to a lot of people my age and they’ll say, “My dad never talked about it.” It was just something when they came home they didn’t talk about.”

That all changed when Al’s grandsons, Janet’s kids, reached middle school.

“My boys know a lot more about it than I do. He just never really talked about it to me. And then he started working at, going to schools and explaining what he went through…he loved this country. And he wanted to make that the best that it could be.”

Reflecting back on her father, Janet reminds people to just say “thank you” to our nation’s heroes.

“They always put their country first, even before their families. So, you’ve got to thank those people, and help them. If you ever see anybody just say, “Thank you for your service.” That meant tons to my dad. Just somebody he didn’t know, “Thank you for your service.” And he would always say, “Well, I’m not a hero. They’re all heroes. It’s not just me in the war.”

Al was often recognized while wearing his “breakfast hat.” It’s a treasured keepsake for Janet to go along with her memory of her hero, her father.

“I want them to know how much I loved him. And that he gave everything he could for anybody that he could. And he wanted to make this country the best country, and that he worked hard to let children know about the way things were, and what they need to do to continue going on.”

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