(J.D. "Jim" Forsythe was born in Manila on March 28, 1923. His first school was Shady Grove. He then went to New Harmony School, then to Brown Spur School, moved north of Leachville and attended the Boynton School and graduated from Leachville High School. He moved to California in 1955 but Manila and the area are still home in his heart. He is a World War II veteran and spent time in a POW Camp in Germany. Mr. Forsythe is sharing a personal story of friendship from difficult days when he was a prisoner of war so far from his home in Manila. He enjoys writing and sharing his memories of growing up in rural Arkansas.)
(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
A promise made in Stalag 12A, a German prisoner of war camp in 1945, was honored on July 10, 2010, by a son.
We POWs were always hungry (many starved to death) and the topic of he day always was food. Myself and Henry Graycheck, a close friend from Co. A 424th, were in a group of POWS who were talking about our favorite food. Henry Graycheck was from St. Cloud, Minn. Henry elated as to how good the Polish sausage back home was. I (being from Arkansas) responded that I had never known of or ate Polish sausage, however I certainly wanted to eat some.
Henry responded that when we get home "I will send you some of the finest Polish sausage."
Well, we did get home. However, we were very busy picking up our lives in our own areas and didn't talk about our experiences while we were in POW camp. We did not have actual addresses.
In 2009 Henry Graycheck's eldest son, Randy Graycheck, located and contacted me by e-mail. He was anxious to talk with someone that knew his father and could tell him of some actual conditions his father experienced in the war and especially in the POW camp.
We emailed each other several times and I mentioned how much his father loved Polish sausage and especially the sausage made in his vicinity of Minnesota.
On July 10, 2010, 65 years after his father's promise, I received a package of the finest Polish sausage from Randy Graycheck.
This is a show of dedication and comradeship that nobody understands unless you were there.
Randy and a younger brother will attend the 106th Division Reunion in Minneapolis this Sept. 22-26.
It will indeed be an honor to visit with these two honorable young men.