In honor of this Veteran’s Day, Meet Generations Crossings’ veteran participant, Henry!

Henry C. Pfister Jr. was born in Mount Savage, Maryland on June 2, 1923. He graduated high school in 1941, going straight to work at an apprenticeship with the railroads. However it didn’t take long before Henry felt compelled to answer his nation’s call and join the Army to fight in World War II. He did his basic training at Fort Lee in Virginia, and then was off to Europe with Sigma Core for the U.S. Army. He stayed in Europe for three years working primarily as an Army machinist, going from England, to the Battle of Normandy in France, to Belgium, finally returning to the U.S. in 1946 after completing his tour. From there, Henry worked for 39 years at Potomac Edison, a power company in Frostburg, MD. After retirement, Henry relocated to Harrisonburg to live with his daughter, where he was introduced to the Generations Crossing family.

Henry exuberantly describes his adoration for Generations Crossing, saying he considers everyone who works and attends there a true friend. When asked about his favorite part, Henry replied, “Well my favorite is I don’t have to come, I come because I want to. If I could give them a mark they all get A+, they all treat me so good. We just laugh and laugh. And I especially like to participate in all the things they do there.” Among those things he likes best is the intergenerational aspect of getting to interact with the children. He describes his love of getting to know the kids in the day care center, claiming, “I swear those little ones are smarter than me when it comes to some things! They’re just sharp as a whip, especially with technology. They teach me so much.”

Among Henry’s pastimes when he’s not with his friends at Generations Crossing include reading histories and mysteries on his magnified book reader, singing songs from his days in the church choir, and writing stories. Henry has a passion for documenting his memories, his songs, and his thoughts, as he describes, “Physically I can’t do everything I want to, but mentally I’m all there. I may not be able to see and I may not be able to hear well, but I can still feel. That’s why I write.” In fact, one of the favorite gifts Henry recalls ever getting was a journal from a little girl who attends Generations Crossing that he has since filled up with his songs and stories. Here are some of Henry’s beautiful words reflecting on his time in the Army:

“Now as we pass cemeteries I think that I would love to hear all the stories that those buried in them could share. I would have a lot to write about. Perhaps those stories are recorded in God’s library and one day I will be able to read them. I hope so… I often think that I could have been one of those graves. But never the less in a way I am there with them. When our nation called upon us we didn’t hesitate, but they gave their all so that our way of life was not lost. I will always be there in spirit with them until the day I join them.”

With Veteran’s Day upon us, it is an important time to recognize the heroes we have around us, like Henry. Today we honor those who have provided support for their country in one of the most pivotal ways, and extend gratitude to all those who have enlisted. We thank Henry for his patronage, his friendship, and his service.