With their numbers decreasing every day, there remains a stronghold of WWII veterans living at Brookdale Creve Coeur senior living community in Creve Coeur, Missouri. From a pilot shot down over the ocean in a tale similar to the book “Unbroken,” to a soldier who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, the experiences of 16 local veterans and refugees are chronicled in the new book “The Boys of Brookdale,” published by Sunbury Press.
Its author, area resident Joe Regenbogen, decided to write the book after his father moved to Brookdale Creve Coeur two and a half years ago and he saw how the community honored residents on Veterans Day. He asked those with WWII experiences to share their recollections with him. Sixteen men and women, ages ranging from ages 89 to 102, agreed. Regenbogen, a longtime teacher, invited students from his eighth-grade American history class at Parkway West Middle School to attend the interviews.
“This process opened the students’ eyes to the realities of history and it was an honor to capture the residents’ stories,” Regenbogen said. “It’s amazing to know they all live under one roof, bringing these important experiences together into one place. It’s also inspiring to see how each went on to live their life following the war. My goal for the book is to share their insights with as many people as possible.”