Happy 90th Birthday, George C. Copeland!
George Copeland has seen the world change from a agricultural-based life to one of high technology. In between, he saw the earliest cars and planes transform into speed machines that were only dreamt of in fiction. George followed his dreams when the first air field was built near Coffeyville Kansas. He wanted to fly. In the Army, George was a Tail Gunner. Less than 2 weeks after his first flight mission, his plane was shot down in June of 1944. George was only 24 years old.
For the next year George was a Prisoner of War in a German Stalag camp. He and his fellow POW's demonstrated strength of character, hope, and innovation as they maintained their health, their hope, and their will. George thinks his background as a farm boy helped him through this. I think that George and all of his men were from a time of life where things were tough to begin with. They did not cry and give up.
When the Germans marched them out of the camp, they didn't know what would happen to them. George and his mates marched for months until Liberation Day. Then they had to make their own way back to freedom in spite of, rather than with the help of, the allied troups that they encountered along the way. Once home, they got right back into life, going to school, marrying, building families and careers, with modesty and personal strength.When I look at George, I think he personifies a true survivor personality.