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July 23, 2011
A Bed of Roses
by Frederick H. Lawrence, June 2000
I would be remiss,
to pick roses such as this
weaving in and out,
of this garden all about.
Though this bouquet is meant for me,
surely you can see
I can do without,
this bed of roses all about.
For I intend you know,
as peacefully to go
with a rainbow of flowers,
draped all around my bower.
Friendly family of faces,
standing 'round in their places
as I lie here in sweet repose,
for I never picked Death's black rose.
Note: Black Roses refer to "Flack" bursts - anti-aircraft artillery.
I came across this poem that my father had written back in 2000 and was thinking it might serve as his eulogy. The poem was originally dedicated to, as he put it, "all his Combat Crews and Friends who braved the Flak & Fighters in the Wild Blue, and all elements, to persevere." Aside from his music, his service to our country and his buddies from the 57th Bomb Wing were probably the most important things in his life.
My father was a stubborn man and usually always wanted to be right while having the last word so I thought this poem would make a fitting eulogy, giving him the respect of having the last word in death as he always wanted during his life.
Dedicated by his son, Mark
Fred Lawrence, Vet/Hero, Author/Instigator, Friend.
15 July, 2011 | Calif.
Fred passed today, 14 July, 2011, sometime before noon. We have lost an amazingly productive man, active in the 57th Bomb Wing, a VETERAN of WWII. . . an American who was taught to speak out, speak up and Fred is probably still "questioning things" UP THERE! A fine man, outspoken but insightful. Truthful to embarrassment and still he stuck to his guns. . . if he were born a hundred years earlier, he would have been "Fred, the six shooting dude with the deadly aim" defending the rights of all that needed defending. On the right side of the Law and gathering troops behind him. Fred's life was a Public Life; Musician...Author. He played Jazz Harmonica from young, he played his Harmonica for his War-buddies and a few public exibitions around Italy and Corsica. He wrote war books and books on other subjects, controversal topics.
Fred seemed to do what was right, never settling for that which was easy. It is hard not to admire his intelligence and stamina ( borne of his stubbornness ;) I loved Fred, as I love most of our 57th BW Veterans, all so similar to my own Dad/Edward. I know WHY they were the Greatest Generation! It is indeed my privilege and pleasure to work with our Vets. The 57th Bomb Wing has lost a great contributor, a friend, an advocate. . . .I could say more.
Fred gave me assignments . . . 'work' . . . but not work in that sense, assignments that were so abundant I will have plenty to do for a long time. I only knew Fred for a few years, Fred was my friend and I will miss his help. He could call me or I would call him ... between us we would think of a proper way to accomplish things, like working on documenting all of our Honored War Dead in the 57th Bomb Wing.... finding the small humble Memorials that dot the country-side of many Countries. In as many Countries as we fought for and in many [way-too many] of the Countries we fought against.
It is an honor to work on Fred's assignments. . . they are our other Men! I cry only for my loss, Fred is safe and happy in the arms of his Lord. From the War, he understood the value of life, the value of friendship and the value of trusting God, even when he could not see the reason why. He trusted that HIS purpose was a grander plan that any of us imagined.
Fred told me once (more than once) that he never prayed so hard as he did standing on the steel matting an hour ahead of time watching for HIS B-25 and all of them to appear as dots in the far sky. Thanks Fred, you showed me some important things I would have missed without your guidance. God Bless Fred's Family.
Barbi Ennis Connolly, 321st Bomb Group Historian in the 57th Bomb Wing.
T/Sgt Fred Lawrence, 321st Bomb Group, 445th Bomb Squad, B-25 Crew Chief
1941 | Boston MASS
FRED Lawrence was an Army Air Corps' Master Mechanic. . a Crew Chief to a B-25 Mitchell Medium Bomber. . . . . an accurate, complex and amazingly durable War-bird. They were shot at, shot up and shot down. America produced "everyday" Heroes. Men who could climb in and head off for a Combat Mission knowing they might not come back. Some did not. Fred said he never prayed so hard as when his Crew and his Ship was away. Combat . . .enemy flak, enemy Fighters. . the UNKNOWN, would the next ship over be hit and could his get out of the way??? . . Please come back.
Next was the fervent prayer that they were ALL back. After landing, he would look them over, especially his ship but not until he inspected all of HIS Crew. Combat Missions were hard, very hard and not all injuries were on the outside. Then and only then could he concentrate on how to best get those flak holes repaired. For some it was simply not possible and they were used to repair other Combat ships.
Coming out of the Depression produced young men that practically invented "American Ingenuity". . . they saved tin can lids for the smaller flak holes. "Over-there" items needed did not just appear, they had to be fashioned from what you had available. Fred was a great Crew Chief, he told stories of "checking out the new engine".... with more than a few hot-shot pilots who hedge hopped. Fred LOVED hedge-hopping until one day they landed with telephone wires stringing from the wings like spaghetti. . . that never happened again.
These "American Heroes" were everyday men who most of 'never even owned a radio'... back yard mechanics became magicians at putting their beloved B-25's back together. "Together" ..... sitting under her wings, they laughed and they cried.
No... we will not forget.
Fred wrote 2 books about WWII in the MTO, "Mediterranean Mitchells" and "Untold and Unsung ..... the Unknown".
Barbi Ennis Connolly, 321st Bomb Group historian in the 57th Bomb Wing.
Frederick H Lawrence, Author "Mediterranean Mitchells
1944 | Corsica, France
The redundancy of 8th Air Force in WWII documentaries, books, and the exclusion of all other Air Forces in the above Historical Archives, prompted me to write of my 12th Air Force operations in our two and a half years overseas.
http://www.paperbackswap.com/Frederick-H-Lawrence/author/ "UNTOLD, UNSUNG, the UNKNOWN"
Fred Lawrence, WWII Vet /Author
2011 | Calif.
April 18, 2011 » LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (The NEW AMERICAN)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Publication: The New American
Date published: April 18, 2011
Uneasy Feeling About Paul-Frank Teaming Up on Military Cuts
It makes me feel very uneasy when Rep. R(Mi Paul teams up with someone like Rep. Barney Frank to suggest cuts in U.S. military weapons systems and personnel. ("Can We Cut 'Defense* Spending'.'** March 21 issue) What fellowship hath light with darkness?
******************** Tired of Foreign Wars ******************************************8
Regarding your article by Thomas R. EtId lem in your March 21 issue, some two to tli ree years ago an article Has published in my Air Force Association magazine, as follows: A hearing was held in Congress to cut U.S. bases in foreign countries. Al the time of the hearing, the United States had. and no doubt still has. troops stationed in over 140 countries, and that has been true for many years.
In addition. Air Force personnel, unlike me in World War Il as a B-25 crew chief, now have to have training as infantry, artillery, communications, and other skills on the ground as "war fighters." Witness the number of Air Force personnel killed on ground patrol missions with frontline troops - I read about this in my newspapers every week.
We have been sucked into foreign wars for 100 years. Thank God I didn't have to jump to enlist as I did years ago. I don't care to dominate anyone, anywhere. General Eisenhower was so right in warning about lhe military/industrial complex.
Thanks for a great magazine.
FREDERICK H. LAWRENCE Wofford Heiehts. Calif.
Read more: http://www.faqs.org/periodicals/201104/2345734321.html#ixzz1QbElgARm
Read more: http://www.faqs.org/periodicals/201104/2345734321.html#ixzz1QbEST2Oh
Fred Lawrence 1921-2011
14 July, 2011 | Bakersfield, CA
Fred was born on 26 Sept. 1921 and passed on 14 July, 2011. Fred was buried with full Military Honors on 27 July, 2011 at Bakersfield National Cemetery, Arvin, CA. He was attended to by the US ARMY Honor Guard.
Fred was experiencing some heart issues and was hospitalized for this. Fred's heart problem required several stents about 12 April, 2011. He was then moved to another hospital and another stent was placed on or about 8 July. He seemed to be recovering so was sent to a beautiful assisted living center/care center but he passed away in his sleep on 14 July, 2011.
2011 | Bakersfield, CA
Frederick H Lawrence Born 26 Sept. 1921 and passed 14 July, 2011. Fred was laid to rest on Wed. 27 July, 2011 at 2 PM at the Bakersfield National Cemetery, Arvin, CA. This is a Rolling Hills area of Kern Valley with "Black Oak" Trees. Fred would have been 90 on 26 Sept. 2011.