We had a lot of time to think about heroes during this recent Memorial Day holiday week end. We had a real live hero in our midst when Harold Hawley, veteran of World War II, spoke at the Equinunk Historical Society’s program on Saturday. It was first time a living vet has been honored and Harold carried the day admirably. In a room packed with neighbors and friends, and a contingent from Teeple-Stevenson-Young American Legion Post 765, Harold told his story in uncomplicated language that brought his experiences to light with dramatic clarity Life was a lot different in 1942 and 43 when men and many women signed up to fight the war for freedom. Men ages 19 to 38 were drafted or willingly volunteered. It was a struggle to provide enough material to the government to support the war effort. Everything was rationed; from gasoline and tires, to metals, and all manner of foodstuffs. Families used ration books to obtain what they needed. A youth of 17, Harold wanted to enlist, but his father was against it. He waited impatiently and pursued his arguments until his father relented. Recruiters had to deny his request to work in aviation mechanics because their ranks were full. Instead, he was shunted into munitions and quickly built a reputation for his skills and leadership abilities He reminded us all about the human cost of combat, and the losses suffered by so many families in this area and throughout our country. His young age insulated him from some of the more hazardous assignments he could have been given, but as crew chief, he was all too aware of the danger and the losses all around him. The audience hung on his words, and hardly noticed that he never faltered despite struggling for breath and occasionally overcome with emotion. You see, Harold was suffering from bronchial pneumonia. But he never considered passing this assignment on to someone else. He stood by his mike and toughed it out until his program was finished. We salute you Harold Hawley, and all the courageous men and women who served with you to guarantee our freedom then and now, and in all the sad wars in between.