What do two days mean? In the life of Norman Ulmer, they might have meant everything. Shipped out of Pearl Harbor two days before the attack and what followed were the chain of events that lasted till Nov. 12. Born in Burnham, he also survived a torpedo on the USS Saratoga and a kamikaze strike on the USS Essex.
He was well-decorated for the service to his country. This past June I got to meet this World War II veteran for the first and only time and the pleasure was all mine.
Dressed in his Navy garb, and dapper as can be, he even spoke at the USO dinner.
I asked my father-in-law, who was involved with the dinner, about Norman while he spoke. He informed me Norman was battling cancer.
He added "He never complains, just says, 'The latest report claims my counts are good.' That's all he ever says."
There is an old line, that things happen for a reason, and I truly believe that is true.
Two little days and who knows if I would have ever met Norman.
As the night passed at the USO dinner, my sister-in-law was captivated by Norman and said to me, "I wonder if he would dance with me?" I replied to Kate, "Only one way to find out and that is to ask him." Norman danced a full set with Kate, providing memories that she will carry with her for years. He even joked with her that she must not have much dancing experience and said just let me lead.
I find it rather proper that Norman passed so near to Veterans Day. I am always grateful to the vets who allow us to live our lives the way we do, and I am just as supportive of those still granting me that freedom. So what do two little days mean? A great life for Norman and wonderful memories for his family and those of us who got to know him.