FAIRBURY, NE – Plymouth native and World War II Veteran Emery W. Bessler was honored as Jefferson County’s “Veteran of the Month” at the Jefferson County Commissioner’s Meeting Tuesday morning at the courthouse in Fairbury.
Bessler served in the U.S. Air Force from Mar. 6, 1945 – Nov. 1946. He graduated from Plymouth High School in 1944, and farmed for a short while until enlisting.
Bessler was eventually shipped to Tokyo Bay, Japan. He and his fellow soldiers were heading for the invasion of Japan – until the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.
Three days later, a second A-bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, resulting in Japan’s surrender on Aug. 14, 1945.
“We didn’t know it until four days after they dropped the second (bomb),” Bessler said. “Everybody hollered, ‘we’re going home!’ But, we knew better than that, because there were a lot of people that had been there for much longer than we had been, see.”
Bessler was then stationed near the island of Leyte, Philippines and Guam until his honorable discharge from the Air Force on Nov. 29, 1946. He served his country for one year, eight months and 23 days.
“Let us never forget your demonstrated sacrifice, service, love and commitment to our country,” Jefferson County Commissioner Mark Schoenrock said. “Thank you, God bless you, and God bless these United States of America.”
After over 40 years of farming in rural Jansen, Bessler retired and moved to Plymouth, where he’s been a member of American Legion Post 243 for 73 years. He’s also been an active member of his church board, elevator board, school board and natural resource board.
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