“This will be the last time we meet again on this side”, those were the words that WWII hero, Murray Schrier spoke to his life long best friend at their last meeting in Savannah, Georgia. Somehow, I felt like an intruder into their private lives as I watched their tears and last embrace. These are only a few of the memories that cross my mind as I acknowledge the passing of Pickett County Elder, Murray Schrier. A few years ago, I was honored when Murray asked me to take him to Savannah to visit a collection of items honoring him and his group at the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum there.
The Pickett County team along with the entire community came together to make this very deserving dream come true for Murray. It was an amazing story within itself just to see how the town came out to support this hero. It wasn’t long with the help of the local DAV and DAVA that this trip was well underway and we were making travel plans for Murray.
Our bus departed early that November morning with intent to have one of the most memorable Veteran’s Day celebrations we had ever had. Many of the town’s members arrived at the facility for the big send off as Murray waved goodbye to them. Police officers gave us an honorary escort out of town and the look of excitement on Murray’s face was priceless as we embarked on our journey! We were also accompanied by members of the local DAV and DAVA who were dedicated to not only help raise funds for the trip but to travel beside us to assist however they could.
When we got to Savannah, Murray was surprised by the arrival of his family and his life long best friend. He cried tears of joy as we got off the bus that evening. He spent the entire evening catching up with his old friend and reminiscing about their many adventures together.
The next day we arrived at the Mighty 8th Museum to find Murray’s name posted on the marquis for all to see. I will never forget as we began our tours how people from all over the museum came to join our group because Murray was the tour guide! He told us how each thing happened and the important events that surrounded it. He was definitely in his element and proud to share this part of his life with us all. The employees of the Mighty 8th gave Murray the “star” treatment that day.
The trip was amazing. A precious, priceless memory that will be forever imprinted in my mind. How wonderful it was to share this time with our Elder.
Murray Schrier passed away this week. The death of a true American WWII hero and it saddens my heart. Murray was an Armorer-Gunner and part of the Flying Fortress B-17 Bomber Squad. He and his crew mates survived 29 missions flying into enemy territory in WWII. His many awards include The Distinguished Flying Cross, Five Oak Leaf Clusters, European, African, Middle Eastern Service Medals, and a Good Conduct Medal.
As a result of his trip, Murray wanted to donate several items to the museum so his legacy and that of his crew mates could live on forever. He received a letter from the museum notifying him that his donations had been accepted and that he would have his own collection dubbed “The Murray Schrier Collection”.
Personally, I will make plans to return to the museum this year so I can remember Murray’s story and share it with my daughter and other generations to come. Mary Kay Ash said that “most people live and die with their music still unplayed.” This was not the case with Murray as he had the courage to ask for an instrument to play his music on and the Pickett County community had the courage to defy the odds and give him an audience.