SEBRING, Ohio (WYTV) – A Sebring man who was killed in the atomic blast at Hiroshima is being remembered this Memorial Day weekend by his family, who hopes to continue his legacy.
Charles Baumgartner, Jr. joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was shot down in 1945, the same year the atomic bomb was dropped during WWII.
“A shock enough to find out that he’s MIA, then a POW and then ultimately, that he was killed by the atomic blast,” said his great niece, Deanna Hoopes-Johnson.
The Sebring Veterans Memorial is a place of honor, reflection and gratitude for military service. Bamgartner’s name is on a memorial brick there and on the American Legion Hall across town.
Deanna would like to see an honorarium, including an enrichment center, to benefit the entire area. She envisions daycare, after-school activities, drug and alcohol counseling, and fitness and nutrition help, all provided for free.
“A building with services and programs that are actually helping people today, I think would be the greatest honor he could have. Like they say, honor the dead by helping the living. That’s what I think he would want.”
President Obama visited Hiroshima on Friday, and Hoopes-Johnson hopes he remembers the Americans who were killed there.
“I just wonder if he’s aware that there were Americans that were being held prisoner and that were killed in the blast.”
The Japanese acknowledged Baumgartner’s death with a grave marker placed in the rubble and a list of names of those who died from the bomb.
Baumgartner would be 101 years old if he were alive today. There is a Facebook page in his honor that posts updates on the enrichment center.