World War II veterans reconnect after 70 years

The two men met at Hagerstown Family Diner to reminisce and look ahead

HAGERSTOWN, Md. -

Vernon Foster and Frederick Hagen last met in the 1940’s
 
Seventy years later, they had plenty to catch up on.
 
Both traveled over 90 miles, from Baltimore and Bedford, Pa. to meet at the Hagerstown Family Diner.
 
The two men, who served in the Twelfth Armored Division, operating tanks in Germany, reconnected over breakfast.
 
They had different ranks, but that didn’t stop them from forging a friendship to last a lifetime.
 
“He was a lieutenant, and I was a sergeant, but that’s in the past. You didn't associate much with the lieutenants or captains, but Vernon...he's an old friend," said Frederick Hagen said about his friend. 
 
During the war, they fought during the Battle of the Bulge and also helped to relocate displaced European families when the war ended in 1945.
 
They experienced the horrors of war, but they remember the camaraderie of companions.
 
“His fondest memories of his World War II experience, like everyone of them will tell you, he said it was the guys," said Bill Cihlar. 
 
The emotional meeting was organized by Bill Cihlar, a family friend of Foster.
 
From the moment they sat down at the breakfast table, the two men could not stop talking, sharing pictures and old war stories
 
“Their history is real to them. For us, it's sort of make believe, but it's important to remember what they did and how it affected our lives today," said Cihlar. 
 
Of the 1,200 men who served alongside them in the war, there are only about 30 still alive which makes these moments all the more precious.
 
“It's a nice place. I enjoy being here, and I enjoy visiting with Fred," said Foster.

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