From the time I was 6 years old I recall crying on Remembrance Day.I knew, even as a child, that these men and woman had survived experiences that I could not even begin to fathom, had seen things that no man or woman should ever have too see, and in some cases had done things that no human being should ever be asked to do.
As the Veterans stood observing a minute of silence, I could almost see their wartime stories flashing wildly across their eyes and I felt humbled that these people had given a part of their lives so that we could know peace in ours.
The gratitude and love that I felt, and still feel for the Veterans, brings me to tears each time I reflect on their courage and honour.
So when a friend of mine, Pam Maw, mentioned that her Father in Law, Stanley was a POW during WWII (and a pretty amazing man) and that I may wish to interview him for the ITTV Show I jumped at the opportunity. But honestly, Pam only needed to say “Veteran” and I was in. Little did I know what I was in for!
As I drove to Stanley’s home I pondered my 2012 frivolities; what to make for dinner; what to pack for my up and coming holiday etc etc…
As I drove home after Stanley’s interview I was forced to pull over and could not help but cry my eyes out.
I had just been blessed with meeting a true hero, in every sense of the word.
I had just sat and listened to a man who: had survived the horrors of war, had been taken prisioner, had watched dear friends be blown apart only meters away, had been run over twice, had jumped out of a plane just as it exploded, had almost died of Malaria, had watched his closest friend of 60 years die in front of him, has had a stroke, is nearly blind and deaf and, is one of the most beautiful souls I have ever laid eyes on.
What is his secret? ”Just luck” he says, “just luck.”
Stanley lives in the moment, he embraces life to the fullest and he tries to always give more than he takes. He loves his family, he works hard and he believes in God.
I am beyond blessed as we all are for the heroic actions of the Men and Woman who participated in the World Wars…. what the Veterans gave so we could thrive has always touched me to my core.
Thank you to Stanley Wojtecki for sharing his story. May his journey inspire each and everyone of you has much as it has me.
Thank you to Stanley’s daughter Barbara Smith for assisting with the interview.