Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
					Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.

Potluck Dinner Honoring World War II Veterans - Yellow Springs, Ohio - July 10, 2004

HONORING WORLD WAR II VETERANS

(Clark, Greene, Fayette and Montgomery Counties, Ohio)

Central Chapel A.M.E. Church
Yellow Springs, Ohio

Potluck Dinner and Program

July 10, 2004

Ernestine Benning, Organizer
Jonas Bender, Master of Ceremony

Following information submitted by Jonas Bender, Yellow Springs, Ohio

July 13, 2004 is the anniversary date of discharge from U. S. Air Force at Parks Air Force Base, California - July 13, 1955, 49 years ago.

SPECIAL GUESTS - World War II Veterans
Jonas Bender
John Jackson
Charles Benning
Harry Johns
Buddie Branch
Robert Renshaw
William Ross
Ruth Jefferson Wright
Robert McCormick
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Washington Courthouse, Ohio
Springfield, Ohio
Xenia, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Xenia, Ohio
51st Defense Battalion (Marine) - Pacific
3260th Quartermaster Company - Pacific
589th Ambulance Company - Europe
999th Field Artillery Battalion - Europe
761st Tank Battalion - Europe
1319th Quartermaster Company 
1313th General Services Engineer Battalion
6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion
537th Quartermaster Company
IN-MEMORIAM - (D-Day Veterans)
Carl Cordell, Sr.
Chester Benning
Charles Hull
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Yellow Springs, Ohio
587th Ambulance Company
587th Ambulance Company
587th Ambulance Company

Photos by Randy Ark Springfield, Ohio

A Potluck Celebration

By Randy Ark
Springfield, Ohio


On July 10th, 2004, I was privileged and honored to be an invited guest among a group of black W.W.II veterans and their families, gathered together to share their experiences of W.W.II as well as to share of their visit to France this past June to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of D-Day.

As soon as I reached the front door of the little church in Yellow Springs, my wife, Sharon, and I were greeted by Jonas Bender. He made us feel so welcome and at home. He introduced us to a number of veterans and dignitaries and family members. I met a veteran from the 761st Tank Battalion and we had a nice chat.

As the events of the evening unfolded, Sharon and I were led to the front of the gathering and were seated at the head table. I was a bit embarrassed to sit at this table of honor, but Jonas assured me that he wanted us there. We were also the first to fill our plates with all the wonderful food placed before us.

I wish I could remember everyone's name that I spoke with or heard speak so I could recognize them here. I can assure you that there were no boring segments this night.

Many heartfelt speeches were given. Some talks were about the children of war and the sorrow of witnessing their plight, especially around St.Lo. One veteran related about the Nazi death camps he had encountered, and tears welled in his eyes as his memory shot back in time to re-live the horror he had beheld. Other veterans spoke about the "Red Ball Express" and another, about the movement of his artillery unit and their function. Charles Benning jokingly remarked about how he hated to see children hurt and women too, which is why his wife was allowed to 'get away with murder'. We all laughed.

I was keenly aware of the history that filled this room. When Jonas Bender announced that the Mayor of Yellow Springs had decreed that the 10th of July would now and forever be remembered as Charles Benning Day, I felt that I was a witness to history. Wow! To have a day named after you!
I met Charles through my daughter, Kara, who met Charles when he rented a tuxedo for his upcoming 50th wedding anniversary. We had a phone contact initially, then we met each other in person in France, met again at the Springfield Airport, and together with Jonas Bender, watched a B-17 and a C-47 come in for a landing, and now here we were at this church. It amazes me how God pulls lives together sometimes.
I closing, I just want to express my gratitude and my heartfelt thanks to be a part of this occasion. It was an evening of remembering and reflection.

Thank-you for making my wife and I feel so welcome.

Sincerely,
Randy Ark

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Related Topics / Keywords / Phrases: 1313, 1319, 1955, 2004, California, Ohio, Washington, World War II,