World War II veteran passes away

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 23, 2020

World War II veteran and River View community native Bernard Paschal died on Tuesday.

“Bernard was a faithful member of our post,” said Lanny Bledsoe, American Legion Post 67 commander. “For many years, he came to almost every one of our meetings. All of us appreciated his service to our country in World War II, and we loved talking to him about his war experiences in the Pacific Theater. Bernard was a good man, and we will miss him.”

Paschal’s son-in-law, Tommy Fields, said that Bernard battled pneumonia for several days and was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Opelika over the weekend.

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“It was hard,” he said. “We couldn’t go and see him. They called us when he took a turn for the worse, but he died before we could get there.”

Paschal was best known by his River View neighbors for celebrating his birthday every year with Uncle Sam. Both were born in the first week in July, Paschal in 1924 and Uncle Sam on July 4, 1776.

For many years, Fields would help his father-in-law put out red, white and blue yard decorations when the first week in July rolled around.

“We must have done that for more than 30 years,” Fields said.

Paschal also loved telling people stories about the fun things he and his friends did while growing up in River View along with his war stories.

He was a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps and took part in many bombing missions over Japanese-held New Guinea.

He always considered himself lucky to have had the good life after the war. Some of the men he served with didn’t make it back home.

Several months ago, Paschal was all smiles as the Georgia-Alabama State Line Chapter of the Quilts of Valor honored him and several other local veterans with quilt presentations at sewingmachine.com in downtown West Point.