Cumberland Times-News

July 29, 2013

Lest we forget

Another of the ‘greatest generation’ passes on

Cumberland Times-News

— “Unsung hero” is a phrase that’s used so often it’s almost a cliche ... almost.

We use it to describe someone who does good deeds but receives little or no recognition for them and, in most cases, wants none.

One of our personal unsung heroes passed away recently, a member of the “greatest generation” of Americans who helped to preserve our freedom seven decades ago during World War II.

Hero though he might be, he was no more remarkable than most of the other veterans of that conflict — men and women who are in their 80s and 90s and now are dying at the rate of about 600 a day.

He was, however, representative of them. Having gone at the risk of his life to do his part, he came home and got on with what lay ahead of him — proud to have been an American soldier, and proud to keep serving his country the best way he could. He never stopped doing that, nor did he ever stop reminding others about his “band of brothers.”

 His travels throughout Europe during the war brought him a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. To the end of his days, he kept his helmet that contained a hole put there by a German bullet.

Our unsung hero helped to create a memorial that bears the names of World War II veterans who came from the community in which he lived his later years. He did this, knowing that because he had been born and raised in another place, his name would not be on the memorial.

Paul F. Crawford Sr. made his home in nearby Centerville, Pa. A man of faith, he was a Boy Scout leader and Little League coach and in many other ways set an example of how someone’s life should be lived.

In this respect, he was like countless unsung heroes from his generation. Like them, he would tell you that, “I’m not a hero. The heroes are still over there.”

Thanks to him and all of the others for their service and for our freedom.