HOUGHTON - Bob Peterson, who survived a harrowing jump from a B-24 Liberator bomber and a year and a half in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp in Germany at the end of World War II, was the center of attention Wednesday for a ceremonial POW/MIA flag-raising at Omega House hospice care facility in Houghton.
Peterson's daughter, Terry Peterson, said after her father moved into Omega House, he asked her to get his POW/MIA flag from his home, but she couldn't find it. She contacted the American Legion, which set in motion a series of events leading to the flag-raising ceremony Wednesday.
"It started so simply," she said.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Bob Peterson, seated, holds the hand of his daughter, Terry Peterson, Wednesday during a ceremony to raise a POW/MIA flag at Omega House hospice home in Houghton. Bob Peterson, a resident of Omega House, was a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany during World War II.
Terry Peterson said when she was growing up, she asked her father about discoloration on the toes of one of his feet, and he told her he got frostbite as a result of his time in the POW camp.
"I always knew something happened to him in the war," she said.
However, more details of his wartime experiences were revealed by her father after he watched the Steven Spielberg movie "Saving Private Ryan."
For a Daily Mining Gazette article in May 2006 for the naming of the Chassell VFW as a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Bob Peterson said he was a bombardier stationed in the nose of the plane, and he was wounded as a result of his plane being shot down. He was captured and taken to a prisoner-of-war camp on the German Baltic Sea coast.
Terry Peterson said her father was receiving treatment for cancer at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, but the levels of chemotherapy had to be increased to the point where they would be toxic, so they were stopped and he moved into Omega House.
The POW/MIA flag was raised by Dan Judnich, commander of the American Legion Post 90 in Lake Linden and Ken Junttonen, commander of the VFW 4629 in Hubbell.
Junttonen said although the POW/MIA flag is not an official Pentagon flag, the headquarters of the U.S. military does recognize it.
"Washington, D.C. declared you could fly it on the same pole as the American flag," he said.
Bob Peterson said he was grateful for the ceremony to raise the flag in his honor.
"I think that's really something," he said. "I was surprised to be asked to be part of it."
Bob Peterson said he received very good care at the VA Medical Centerl in Iron Mountain, where he spent a lot of time.
"I should have bought a house there," he said.
Bob Peterson said he appreciated all the attention he was getting for the flag-raising ceremony, and the care he got both at the VA Hospital and at Omega House.
"I count my blessings," he said.