The Historical Society of Georgetown will host a discussion of World War II with author Vincent DePaul Gisriel, Jr. at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 10. Gisriel will tell true tales of wartime destruction and romance experienced by his late father, a WWII bombardier stationed in England. His book, "Hearts Away, Bombs Away" gives a personal side to history, with a love story that unfolds amid dangerous missions abroad that will impact the Gisriel family forever.
1 Keeping a father's memory alive
As a boy growing up, Gisriel knew the facts of his father, a WWII veteran. But, like many soldiers of the war, the senior Gisriel didn't talk much about his service. It wasn't until his death in 2003 when fellow crew members commemorated him with colorful stories that occurred over the skies of Germany and the rest of Europe that Gisriel Jr. realized that his father's participation in history might be worth telling.
Gisriel began his research, remembering along the way that his parents corresponded extensively and as luck would have it, had saved more than 1,000 letters between them. Initially, thinking the letters would have information about military missions, Gisriel combed through them only to realize this wasn't just a story of bombs and military missions. This was the love story of his parents, too.
2 Connecting to Georgetown
Karl Haller, local attorney and program director for the town's historical society, said he's excited to her Gisriel's stories and thinks this is a great opportunity to hear about the parts of history that don't make it into the history books.
"The stories of flying an airplane in World War II and the lost bombers will be exciting in a macabre way," Haller said. "But, people may also be interested in it because Georgetown played a part in training World War II pilots like Gisriel's father. Of course, we don't know where his dad trained but the experience would be similar."
3 More history coming
Haller isn't just excited about bombardiers, he and the Georgetown Historical Society have a whole schedule planned to bring history alive southern Delaware.
For instance, in November, there will be a screening of Sussex County Tourism's five minute video, "The Beaches are Just the Beginning" as well as all the footage that didn't make the cut. Then, in January, "The Crime and the Time" will discuss how people were punished in colonial Delaware. In March 2013, the focus turns back to the military with a discussion of the Delaware regiment, the "Delaware Blues."