Photo caption:
Seated from left: WWII Veteran James Brush, camper Kate McDaniel (holding book), Kyla McDaniel (age 6), WWII Veteran Verl Luzena, and his son, John Luzena
Standing, from left: Evelyn Brush (wife of James Brush), and parents Michael and Rachel McDaniel

What do a three-star Army Lt. General and a 9-year-old girl camper have in common? They spent part of their Saturday at the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas, hearing the stories of two WWII veterans. Gen. John M. Brown III (Ret.) and camper Kate McDaniel from Gastonia, NC (with her parents and sister Kyla) honored these veterans with their time and attention, while learning about the unique jobs of a combat photographer and a scientist during the war.

Veterans Verl Luzena and James Brush told their stories and shared their pictures from the updated edition of World War II Veterans of Western North Carolina: Their Stories in Their Own Words. Some museum visitors purchased books for Christmas gifts.


New stories of WWII veterans in the book’s 4th edition:

  • Verl Luzena, U.S. Army Air Force Combat Camera Unit, served as a photographer beginning with D-Day and documented the war on film through France, Belgium, and Germany.
  • James Brush, U.S. Army Manhattan District Project, Los Alamos, worked in the development of the atom bomb, which ended the war in the Pacific.
  • Lawrence Hoffman, U.S. Army Artillery, fought in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, Belgium, and Germany. His unit freed two concentration camps in Germany.
  • Charles Dickson, U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Paratrooper, jumped with the first group who parachuted into Sainte-Mere-Eglise on D-Day, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and on to Germany.

The 4th edition of the book, which is an honor project of the museum, now contains 22 veterans’ stories. The book is available for $10.00 at the museum, Highland Books, and on Amazon (paperback and Kindle), with proceeds going to support the mission of the museum.

The Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas is located at 21 East Main Street in Brevard (beside the courthouse). Admission is free. The museum is open Wednesday – Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. For information about group tours or to purchase an Honor Wall plaque to honor a veteran, please call 828-884-2141.