What began as a school project has brought scandal to a formerly beloved citizen of this quiet Ohio town. Mayfield High School students in Ms. Lander’s AP History class were assigned to interview local war veterans. Young Hillary Pierce chose nursing home resident Al Gunderson.
The pretty brunette was unaware she’d soon be asked to choose between journalistic integrity and participation in a cover-up of massive proportions.
Eighty-nine year old Al Gunderson has long been a treasured fixture of this tight-knit community. Along with now deceased wife Peg Gunderson, he managed ‘Al’s Hardware and Taxidermy Shoppe’ successfully for decades at a location just off the by-pass.
It was always assumed Mr. Al was exactly what he claimed to be; a soft-spoken, elderly man who participated in the D-day invasion and the subsequent battles leading to victory.
Gunderson was one of those veterans who didn’t talk much about the war, but would at times wipe a tear from his eyes in speaking of his ‘buddies’ who didn’t make it home.
Many in this small town wish the tissue of lies had never been unraveled, while acknowledging Hillary Pierce did the right thing. According to Ms. Pierce it became obvious to her very early in the interviews that Gunderson was a faux hero.
“Yeah, like I was asking him the name of the ship he was on, about to land on Normandy Beach. And I asked the name of the Captain of the ship, because Ms. Landers grades on details. He said he didn’t know any of that ‘junk’ since he was too busy being scared. He said he didn’t land at Normandy Beach, he landed at Omaha Beach. Well, Omaha is in Nebraska, not France, so the whole thing sounded pretty fishy to me.”
The attractive brunette next turned to internet archives of military rosters, where she found the ‘smoking gun’ of Al Gunderson’s decades long deception. “He wasn’t there. Some guy name Albert Gunderson got wounded, and was awarded a Bronze Star or something, but nobody named Al Gunderson ever served in WW2.”
The revelations have left some in this small town wondering whether all soft spoken-octogenarians are also big fat liars.