NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) —”You don’t want to spend the rest of the day on this,” comments WWII veteran Ward DeWitt while pulling out a photo album.
“Oh, yes I do,” responds News 2 Anchor Alex Denis, “Every single page.”
Who wouldn’t want to walk down memory lane with the 97-year-old? And, once starts, Mr. DeWitt enjoys the memories just as much.
“These are me as a little boy, let me show you,” DeWitt continues turning a page, “This is my mother and father.”
His family spans generations in Nashville and has seen the unbelievable transformation of their once quaint and quiet town.
“This was your beautiful home on Woodlawn Street?,” Denis asks. “Yeah, my grandparents. It’s a parking lot now,” DeWitt replies.
Back then, he says, everyone knew everyone, and his high school buddies all desired one thing.
“Wanted to join the armed services,” DeWitt recalls, “It was a very patriotic time.”
In the throes of WWII, he found himself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a large ship.
“That’s the one I was on, 881,” he says.
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DeWitt never faced a direct battle but has a unique story about the atomic bomb.
“We dropped bombs on two cities in Japan but hadn’t dropped one on a fleet of ships. So, the Navy decided to test the bomb by dropping it on some ships,” DeWitt recalls.
Those abandoned ships were just 25 miles away from where DeWitt’s vessel anchored waiting to see if debris would reach them.
“There were several hundreds of us. We just didn’t know what was gonna happen, and we were kind of scared. Captain Scott, told us to lie on the deck and cover our faces like that. We couldn’t hear anything, but we did see a beautiful mushroom-shaped cloud. There was no damage to our ship.”
The war ended. DeWitt returned to Nashville to practice law. He married Barbara. The couple had four children and made a lifetime of beautiful memories preserved in photo albums that hold so much love they’re difficult to close.
“You know more about my family than I do,” DeWitt says laughing. “Oh, I love it,” Denis responds while attempting to close the packed album. “The end,” she says. “Well, how about that?,” DeWitt says with a grin on his face reflecting on his life very well lived.