I moved into a condo for a short time and to my great surprise I learned that Bernard "Bernie"
Pothier was my neighbor!!! A wonderful man.
Bernie survived all the Japanese could give him for over 40 months, the prisons,
the hell ship and the coal mine in Japan. He was in the same camp as my friend
I remember a story that Bernie told me: when he was being marched from the
prison camp towards Manila harbor to board the hell ship, he and everyone in
the group knew they had had it, their moral had hit bottom.
Suddenly, from behind the crowd of people watching, someone put on a record
and began playing "God Bless America", by Kate Smith.
Bernie said that he heard that song and he stood up as straight as he could and
knew he could make it. That song made all the difference in the world at that
moment in time.
Here is a photo that I took of Bernie in my room in 2010. I used this photo in a
display at the Fort Devens Museum, and on the museum flickr site.
And, a recent newspaper article October 5, 2017, The Reading Post where Bernie
gets promoted to Sgt. at age 99. A very nice large ceremony for him and his family.
The photos are great!!!
There is a video at the end of the article.
You can do a google search and find the article as it is current:
"99 year old army corporal receives his sergeant stripes".