One year ago today, December 5, 2005, Sanford Watzman, my father died just three days short of his 85th birthday. He was an active man, who loved his golf and his cards, took good care of my mother, and us three children. For most of his working life, he owned a men’s clothing store called Watzman’s Mens Fashions in Wellsburg, West Virginia, where he was well known and liked in this northern West Virginia community. He knew most of the people who walked through his doors, and during the years I worked there with him, certainly taught me a thing or two about the right way to treat people.
My Dad grew up in Warwood, West Virginia, just north of Wheeling, the middle of three boys born to his Russian immigrant parents, Max and Yetta Watzman. He served in the US Army Signal Corps in the Pacific during World War II, apparently enlisting soon after his 21st birthday, which was the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
My father actively supported the creation of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. It was a highlight of his life to be in Washington for the Dedication on May 29, 2004. I was privileged to travel with him and my mother and watch him and thousands of other World War II veterans finally receive the applause of a nation for a job well done.
The pictures below highlight that journey.
Back in September of 2004, my father sat down at the computer and wrote a few pages of memoirs about his service during World War II. His story, like those of many other veterans, supplements much of the story we read in our history books. It is truly more personal, seen through the eyes actually there, rather than through the words of our historians.
Over the next few days, I shall post excerpts from that story, written in his unedited words. I’d like to close this post, written with his fond memory in mind, with the last paragraph from his story.
With all my army travels and experiences I was awarded the following ribbons: 5 battle stars, 2 invasions, army of occupation, good conduct medal, sharp shooting medal. Not bad for a little West Virginia boy.
Sanford Watzman T/SGT.
230th Signal Operations Co.
San Francisco, Calif.
Not bad at all, Dad!