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AARP to hear ‘One Soldier’s Story’ April 7

Salisbury-Rowan AARP will host a special presentation, “One Soldier’s Story,” on Thursday, April 7, at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center at 1 p.m. Sisters Sue Wall and Glenda Ball will talk about their father, Hayden Lingle, whose was captured by the Germans near the end of World War II when his plane went down over Holland in February 1945.

“The crew survived. Five escaped into the nearby town of Zootemere and became part of the Dutch Resistance,” Wall explains. “Dad and three others were injured and captured by the Germans, then kept on the march as POWs until the end of the war in May 1945.”

Lingle returned home to Granite Quarry to marry and raise two daughters. He never talked about his war experiences. “I think it was too painful. He had nightmares, what we would call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD today,” Wall explains. He died in 1988.

Then about 11 years ago, his daughter Glenda Ball decided to get on the Internet and see what she could learn about his war experience. Much to her surprise, a woman who runs a WWII website got back in touch and put her in contact with the town where her father’s plane went down. She contacted the town and found out they were planning a big commemoration of the 60th anniversary of their liberation from Nazi rule.

So in May 2005, Lingle’s daughters, Wall and Ball, traveled to Holland to participate in the celebration, the only family of the nine downed aviators that could attend. “We were treated like royalty,” according to Wall. “We rode in the parade in a WWII jeep. Festivities lasted for four days. The town erected a monument to honor their liberators, especially those who were shot down in their village. The town had prayed that the survivors would make it home safe. They all did.”

Lingle’s daughters have spoken to many civic, religious and school groups in the area, sharing their dad’s story. “We especially enjoy speaking to school classes. The students listen intently because it is about one soldier’s story, it comes to life,” she explains. “Hundreds of thousands of other men and women each made a contribution. Every single person made sacrifices to ensure our freedoms.”

The Rowan-Salisbury Chapter of AARP meets the first Thursday of each month at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, 1120 S. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. Visitors and new members are always welcome. Annual chapter dues are $3. For more information contact the center at 704-216-7714.

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