Paying tribute to World War II veterans

NEIGHBORS

September 28, 2000|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOR ALMOST 40 years, Severna Park photographer David Hare has traveled throughout the mid-Atlantic region recording life's most exciting moments, peering through his viewfinder at the smiling faces of optimistic graduates, radiant newlyweds and beaming parents.

During this time, he has focused on events that highlight a client's present and future. But recently, Hare has aimed his lens in a different direction: the past.

His new mission is to call attention to a quickly disappearing segment of U.S. history - the men and women who served in the armed forces during World War II.

The result is a collection of portraits honoring 22 World War II veterans who live in Central County. The portraits show each subject posed in front of a picture of himself - and in one case, herself - in military uniform during the 1940s.

Hare calls the collection "While They Are Still With Us."

His project honors the veterans in picture and print. Each portrait is framed with a mat that includes a personal biography and service record.

Among them:

Louis Herrmann of Severna Park, who as an Army technician landed on Utah Beach on June 7, 1944, the second day of the D-Day Allied forces invasion in France. He served in the Army from 1942 to 1945.

Patrick J. Jose of Severna Park, a retired first sergeant who served in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Army, with Gen. George Patton from Normandy, France, to Czechoslovakia. He helped in the rescue of the famous Lipizzaner stallions. At age 67, Jose volunteered and served at Fort Meade during the Desert Shield/Desert Storm operation.

Wallace Hankins of Severna Park, a retired Navy captain who served from the final months of World War II through the Korean and Vietnam wars. He taught at the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Tom Creekmore of Severna Park, who flew a B-17 and took part in the Army Air Forces transport of 6,000 Allied prisoners of war after the defeat of Germany.

George Asaki of Pasadena, who served in the U.S. Army as an interpreter of Japanese.

Hare's admiration and fascination of America's military personnel from World War II began when he was a little boy in Wilmington, Mass. He and his family often ate at a Main Street restaurant, where photos of those stationed around the world covered the walls.

The war effort was on his doorstep, too. His father was an enlisted man in the Navy, and his uncle a member of the Army Air Forces - which was to become the U.S. Air Force.

"My father was a Navy firefighter in Florida, and while he was there he fought fires in the Everglades," Hare says. "My uncle served as an observer, assigned to spot islands and enemy planes.

"I lived through WWII," Hare says, "and after the fact I was in the military myself. I have so much reverence for what the guys went through."

Hare joined the Air National Guard in 1957 and worked with veterans of the world war. "When I was in the regular Air Force for training, I would listen to them talk about their combat experiences," he says.

Hare became concerned because, as he says, "the guys are leaving us everyday."

He's devoted much of his spare time to the project. In addition to the photography, he's designed the mats and mounting, written the biographical sketches and had them printed.

The result is a collection of portraits that seem to express a nation's pride, as well as his love and respect for the men and women of the services.

When he began the project, Hare advertised for veterans of the war and was overwhelmed by the response - nearly 200 calls.

The final collection also includes Severna Park resident Thelma Rendina, who served in the public relations division of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Hare hoped to photograph each veteran in uniform and was amazed to discover that most still had them - and some even fit into them.

To create the portraits, in which each veteran appears before a "virtual background," Hare used a front-projection system that enabled him to photograph his subjects with a synchronized war-years image of themselves.

"It's like the blank screen that a weatherman in a television studio actually points to when he describes the weather," Hare explains. "The viewer sees the complete weather map that is projected onto the screen by a TV camera with a computer."

Others from the area whose pictures are included in the collection are Army veterans William C. Krieger, Martin T. Bump, Boris R. Spiroff, Charles Brown, Francis E. Young, Reamer "Buz" Sewell and Leon K. Walters; Army Air Forces vets Frank Lafferty, John E. Fish, James A. Fava and Nicholas T. Nonnenmacher; the Navy's Donovan Truluck, Joseph M. Hunter, Maurice H. Rindskopf and Raymond E. Yrttimaa; and Marine Corps veteran Jonathan C. German.

Hare will hold a private showing of his collection. He anticipates a public viewing about Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

For information about the World War II display, contact David Hare at 410-544-7500 or Frosty@toad.net.

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