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Book

In the Hands of Strangers

A World War II Story of Courage, Heroism, and Enduring Friendship

Daddy never talked much about the war.

All the time I was growing up, and for many years beyond that, he never seemed to want to bring up what happened to him in his days as a fighter pilot flying combat missions over Germany and France during a pivotal period of World War II. If the subject came up at all, he tended to recount only a very basic, name-rank-serial-number kind of version.

I guess he didn’t really want to reminisce, and he had no need to be hailed as a hero. He was satisfied with the post-war life he was leading: putting on his blue overalls and going off to his maintenance job five days a week while operating a small business on the side; raising his family; going to church every Sunday; coaching my girls’ basketball team; building friendships in his community. To those who aspire to some lofty status, it may have appeared a common life. But my father was happy where he was. The past was not something that needed to be rehashed.

The way my father looked at it, he had simply gone over to Europe as a young man and risked his life for his country because that was his job. He did what was asked of him to the best of his ability, without question or complaint, and then he came home to get on with his life.

From what I’ve heard, that’s the way many men from the Greatest Generation looked at their service to our country. With an unwavering commitment to a larger cause and a personal humility, they did their jobs during the war and then simply turned to the next chapter of life.

 My hope is that you will find this story about Fred Moretto informative, engaging, and inspirational. The members of the Greatest Generation have so much to teach us all, maybe now more than ever.