Arthur C. Franzwa was an administrative clerk assigned to 4th Air Force, 19th Bombardment Group, Headquarters Squadron in Phillipines.
A survivor of Infamous Bataan Death March, Uncle Art was listed as a P.O.W./M.I.A. during second world war.
Until recently, I had very little information of actual details, except that Art was a prisoner in Japanese P.O.W. camps for three and a half years.
From a few things my dad told me, aside from what little rations they received, Uncle Art and his fellow prisoners supplimented their diets with grass hoppers and an occasional monkey (a delicacy for them), when they were able to capture one.
Upon liberation, Art was reunited with family and friends stateside.
This is a letter I wrote to him upon hearing of his being honored by our country's military in 2005, at age of 90.
Even though this was written for my Uncle Art, I would like to co-dedicate it to anyone who has served in US military in any capacity. The details may not be yours, but my admiration certainly is.
I've wanted to write this for many years, and have even begun it several times, each time side-tracked by my own duties in life. If you're hearing or reading this now, you'll know I was finally successful.
You have always been a hero to me, even before I understood what a true hero you were, or for that matter, what a true hero even was.
My dad, Donald Franzwa, was number one hero in my life. As his brother, you were my hero through association. After all, any brother of my dad qualified as a hero in my book.
As a yougster I always looked up to you. Way up. Partly because Dad did, and partly because I was so small and you were six feet, four inches tall.
I still look up to you.
You've probably forgotten day you graduated from "hero by association" to a bonified "personal hero" to me, but I never will. I was only about five or six years old and our families were on an outing on Sandy River in Oregon. I believe we were on your first boat, "Boatnik," when we pulled into shore for a picnic.