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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Talking About the War

In the last 15 years, Joy started sharing those experiences. When her grandchildren needed history projects she started talking about her experiences. She spoke to whoever wanted to hear the perils of WWII. She spoke very matter-of-factly about ‘the boys’ when she would reminisce. “Do you want to hear the gruesome stuff, the reality of war?” she would ask.

So she talked about the concentration camp and described the stench produced from the burning bodies. She tells of never being so scared and how you learned to tell the difference between friendly artillery fire and the enemy. How you actually got used to the sounds of guns and bombs all around you. She told about when the Germans started using the rockets to bomb England. “You would know you were safe if you could hear the rocket whistling overhead, but when all got quiet that was when they were dropping the bomb.” Joy was willing to share those war times with the next generation perhaps leaving a legacy to our next generation.

Source: The Nurse Who Went to War by Susan Harrison Wolffis, Muskegon Chronicle, March 31, 2002

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