HOUGHTON - Bob Peterson, who survived a harrowing jump from a B-24 Liberator bomber and 1 years in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp in Germany at the end of World War II, was the center of attention Wednesday for a ceremonial POW/MIA flag-raising at Omega House hospice care facility in Houghton.
Peterson's daughter, Terry Peterson, said after her father moved into Omega House, he asked her to get his POW/MIA flag from his home, but she couldn't find it. She contacted the American Legion, which lead to the flag-raising ceremony Wednesday.
"It started so simply," she said.
Bob Peterson, seated, holds the hand of his daughter, Terry Peterson, Wednesday during a ceremony to raise a POW/MIA flag at Omega House hospice home in Houghton. Peterson, a resident of Omega House, was a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Kurt Hauglie)
Terry Peterson said when she was growing up, she asked her father about discoloration on the toes of one of his feet, and he told her he got frostbite as a result of his time in the POW camp.
"I always knew something happened to him in the war," she said.
However, more details of his wartime experiences were revealed by her father after he watched the Steven Spielberg movie "Saving Private Ryan."
For a Mining Gazette article in May 2006, Peterson said he was a bombardier stationed in the nose of the plane and he was wounded as a result of his plane being shot down. He was captured and taken to a prisoner-of-war camp on the Baltic Sea coast.
Terry Peterson said her father was receiving treatment for cancer at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, but the levels of chemotherapy had to be increased to the point where they would be toxic, so they were stopped and he moved into Omega House.
The POW/MIA flag was raised by Dan Judnich, commander of the American Legion Post 90 in Lake Linden, and Ken Junttonen, commander of the VFW 4629 in Hubbell.
Peterson said he was grateful for the ceremony to raise the flag in his honor.
"I think that's really something," he said. "I was surprised to be asked to be part of it."