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Cole Museum Welcomes Unusual Veteran On Memorial Day 

At the Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor they’ve had a lot of Memorial Day speakers over the years. According to museum owner Galen Cole thinks today’s speaker just may have been the best.Henry Welzel made the drive to Bangor from his Freeport home early on Memorial Day to tell his story to a group that consisted of nearly 500 veterans. “I think it’s going to be the most amazing story for any of us that we’ve ever heard,” says Cole, “I’m looking forward to it almost more than I’ve ever looked forward to anything in my life.”IWelzel was born in the United States but moved to Germany when he was only 2. He was forced into the Nazi army when he was 16 and served as a medic during World War II. “You know everything happened to me when I was real young,” says Welzel, “I was in the German army when I was under 17 and I was captured before I was 18.”Lucky for him he was captured by the American army. Since he was still an American citizen he was returned to the US on Thanksgiving day 1949. Shortly after that he tried enlisting in the United States Marine Corps and after a short wait he was back on the battlefield. This time fighting with the red, white, and blue. “I volunteered for Korea and within 3 months I was on the frontline three days before christmas in ’51 in the 45th division.”Welzel served for 21 months in Korea earning a bronze star and a purple heart. He says there’s quite a difference between life in the u-s and german military. “The food is better for one thing. Supplies were better.”Welzel says he’s happy to have the chance to tell his story to Veterans on Memorial Day. “Nobody’s fallen asleep yet so i guess it’s interesting.”Cole says Welzel is one of the most engaging speakers he’s ever had. “It’s a perfect day and he’s a perfect candidate. And he was always an American at heart.”