Charlie Bisol was an American Hero. A little less than a year ago I accidentally met Charlie while we were both going about our business; I got to know him a little, and while it turned out as fate would have it that our friendship would be brief, my life was made better by it. I only heard yesterday that Mr. Bisol passed away back in July.
His story would be typical if it were not so unique. After I met him last year, I wrote an article about him and the book he wrote about his war time experiences titled “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD) begins with a Bang.” The following excerpt from that article says it all:
“Let me take a moment and properly introduce this blessed soul to you. Charlie Bisol is just that guy next door, he got born at a rough time in our nation’s history; he grew up, and he did what kids have been doing since time began. He had fights with other kids in his neighborhood in the morning, and laughed about it later that day with the same kids. Maybe, more than a few times like so many other kids back in the day, he and the gang scraped up a nickel together and bought a pack of cigarettes and maybe snuck away with everyone else on the block. The point is, he was just a normal kid growing up in the twenties and thirties. Guys like Al Capone and John Dillinger were on the newsreels in the movie houses and the world was a very different place, albeit a very dangerous place.
Then one day back in 1941, at the ripe old age of 16 or 17, Charlie, like millions of other young men everywhere on both sides watched the world they knew change in an instant. Yeah, the winds and rumors of war had been brewing for a while, but on the very fateful morning of December 7, 1941, without any warning, forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked our Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and forever changed the mindset of millions of guys and gals like Charlie Bisol. We were at war and all bets were off.
As fate would have it, Charlie was sent to the European theatre and found himself up to his neck in some of the most intense battles of the war on that front. Assigned as a truck driver, he found himself in lots of very dangerous and potentially deadly circumstances. In any war zone, all vehicles are targets of opportunity, and trucks that can move men and supplies are prize targets. There are snipers, mines, tanks, and who knows what else? Every turn of the wheel could be your last moment….the kind of stuff that keeps you awake for days on end, and wakes you up in a cold sweat and shaking when you do drift off.
Such was and has been Charlie Bisol’s existence. Charlie, and all the other guys and gals that did what they had to do to defend our great nation.”
Charlie Bisol; American Hero, husband, father, one of the last of a dying breed….my friend.
Until we meet again and catch up, rest well sir. You will be missed.