Two weeks ago, Jack Womer went on a trip to Normandy with his daughter Ellen. We recently heard from Stephen DeVito, Jack’s friend and co-author of Fighting with the Filthy Thirteen, who told us about some of the great moments Jack experienced during his trip:
Jack was given a lot of medals and gifts, and attended a lot of ceremonies. He met a lot of dignitaries, and people were actually fighting to treat him to dinner, take him places, and to just sit next to him. One person who lives in England and who owns an authentic U.S. World War II jeep had the jeep shipped to Normandy just so he could drive Jack around in it. He even dressed in a military uniform.
You may recall the chapter in the book Carentan: A Red Rose for a Soldier. In this chapter Jack discusses when he was in a gun fight in Carentan on June 17, 1944, and an old French woman gave him a red rose, and told him to “send it to the woman he loves” (meaning his fiancee Theresa). Later in the chapter Jack goes on to describe how that rose saved a man’s life, and it is referred to again in the last chapter, the section that describes how Theresa, then his wife, dies. Well, many people must have read the book before Jack arrived to France, because when he went to Carentan many French women and children dressed in 1940’s attire were waiting for his arrival. When he got to the town square of Carentan they gave him red roses. I nearly cried when I heard that.
Jack had a wonderful time. The people in Europe love him. Many took him to places in France where he and the rest of the Filthy Thirteen had fought the Nazis. People were constantly asking him for his autograph, and asking him if he had any books with him so they could buy them. On the way back to the states, the Air France flight crew somehow learned about Jack and the book, and they bumped Jack and Ellen up to first class seating and gave him the VIP treatment on the flight back.
You have no idea how much happiness the book has brought to Jack and his daughter, and to me. Just seeing Jack so happy and and having a good time makes me happy. The book has brought a lot of people together that would never have gotten together without it. All of what has been happening makes the tremendous effort in developing the book all worthwhile.