World War II veteran tells his story to elementary students


History comes alive today for dozens of Pittsburg elementary students, courtesy of a World War Two veteran.

Fifth grader Chloe Riska says history isn’t exactly her favorite subject.

“It’s really hard to listen, like, whenever you try to listen, you can’t listen, because it’s kind of boring,” says Chloe Riska, 5th grader at Meadowlark Elementary.

But that all changed Thursday, when World War Two veteran Homer Cole visited Chloe and the other kids at Meadowlark Elementary in Pittsburg.

“Because they actually have been through it, and they can tell you all the details about it, not just in a book,” says Chloe Riska.

Cole, who served in the Air Force as a gunner on a B-17 in Europe during World War Two, shared stories of his 19 combat missions, time he spent with a crew not much older than these students.

“There was five of us 18, my pilot was 21, he was the oldest,” says Homer Cole.

And Cole even took questions from the audience.

“A lot of them wanted to know what it was like to be in the Air Force, and I liked it, really. I’d rather be it than the infantry or something else, and I knew I didn’t want to be in the Navy, because I couldn’t swim,” says Cole.

Third grader Gage Wisdom says having a chance to hear about the war from someone who was there gives it a certain level of credibility.

“Because you can actually trust the person that’s telling you about history, because computers lie,” says Gage.

Gage says someday, he hopes to follow in Cole’s footsteps and serve our nation.

“I’m going to be in the Army whenever I grow up,” says Gage.

After serving in the war, Cole graduated from Pittsburg State University and served as mayor of Pittsburg.

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