1941 was considered the height of the Big Band Era. Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey orchestra recorded "Everything Happens to Me;" James Stewart and Ginger Rogers took home a win at the 13th Academy Awards for "Rebecca;" and Joe Louis KO'ed Red Burman in five rounds for the heavyweight boxing title.
Meanwhile, American troops were fighting a battle of their own as the U.S. entered World War II in Europe. Joe Hudson, who grew up near Brock, enlisted in the Army at the ripe age of 21.
"I was in the 142nd Infantry - Company M," Hudson said. "We were sure mobile."
But Hudson mobility became short lived when he and his unit were on patrol on a mountainside in Salerno, Italy. Orders came from his captain to "fall back" due to increased German activity.
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"Everybody started running. As I headed down the mountain I stepped on something," Hudson said. "I could hear my leg snap, it was broken."
He said he'd never forget what happened next when an American medic came by and gave him a shot of what he thought was morphine.
"He said the German's will take care of you now," Hudson recalled.
In no time German soldiers picked up Hudson and took him to a prisoner of war camp where he'd remain for the next 19 months.
"We all suffered through it," Hudson said. "I was in six different camps in Germany; the most difficult part was just being there."
None of the camps had heat during the winter and as a result it got pretty cold he said.
"My leg was getting better but every time the soldiers put together a work detail I became crippled," Hudson said with a smile. "I didn't want to go out, I didn’t what was going to happen.”
But he said everyone always came back.
For the most part, the soldiers clothing held together Hudson said and most all meals were furnished by the American Red Cross.
"We'd have Spam, butter that came from Canada, cigarettes, candy and crackers," Hudson said. "Everything tasted pretty good. When we got back to the states we were greeted with a big steak dinner. I couldn't eat much of it, my stomach just wasn't use to that kind of food.”
Hudson left the service as a Private First Class.
"It was quite an experience," he said. "It was like a dream."
Hudson's story and other are just some of the memories you'll relive when visiting at the Doss Heritage and Culture Centers - (DHCC) new exhibit.
Opening June 15th COURAGE is the latest exhibition at the DHCC that looks at 100 years of Parker County Veterans service.
From a World War I Saddler's field chest, to a World War II field desk and uniforms spanning the entire 20th century, experience these artifact first hand.
The DHCC has partnered with the American Legion Post 163, The National Vietnam War Museum, Buchanan's Antiquities & Militaria and other local veterans to bring the exhibition to life. The DHCC has also partnered with the Thankful Generations project to bring oral history, veterans and art together for a unique display of two beaded tapestry portraits honoring two Parker County World War II veterans. There is also an area within the exhibition where visitors can leave a memory of veterans of their family or a note thanking our veterans for the service and sacrifice.
The exhibition will run through Nov. of 2017. The museum is free and open Tuesday-Saturday 10-5 Thursdays 10-8.