The Story of a Man Searching for Life Long Answers
"Why, God, Not Me?"
Walter Scherr is a man who wanted to fight and possibly die for his country but instead was held back by an unknown and ugly disease.
Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 bringing with it, America's presents into WWII.
The man - Bowen, Francis N.
508th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Date of Death: June 15, 1944
Buried: Plot E, Row 13, Grave 6
Normandy American Cemetery
Awards: Purple Heart
The man - Francis Bowen who grew up in Queens, New York a man his friends probably called him Fran, Frank, or Franny but it is later discovered that everyone actually called him by his middle name Nelson; a person who had lived during the Great Depression; a person trying to make the best of what was a very troubling time in American history; a person helping his family the best way he knew how with odd jobs and finding any way possible to survive this depressing and hopeless time.
During this time of struggle Francis had found himself engaged to be married to Ada Murphy; little did they know that their marriage would be ripped away from them because of the ensuing war. America had been sucked into WWII in 1941 when the Japanese had attacked and Francis, along with many other young men in Queens, went off to enlist willingly to fight during the Great Crusade against fascism.
All of that had changed for Francis after June 6th 1944 on Normandy's Cotentin Peninsula, D-Day.
Francis had an older brother Harry (Harold) and a sister Sissy (Gertrude) and later her daughter and niece he will never know Ginger Rica, and that is where our story begins.
When war was finally declared and America took and bear arms to fight against evil in the world, Walter had to stay behind. Feeling as though he was stripped of his obligation to engage in this historic and heroic time in American history
Walter had to carry this heavy burden on his shoulders all of his life. Struggling to understand why he was left behind to survive while others were sent to fight and die in their prime of their lives.
To help with his grieving and lack of clarity to why his life was spared, Walter had sought after an individual that had lived in the same community he grew up in and experienced the same lifestyle he had. Then, Walter had found that link in Francis Bowen. By reaching out to this man and living his life vicariously experiencing the thought of leaving his family, friends, his home and everything he had ever known to be shipped off across a vast ocean to fight to protect all that he knew and loved back home.
At the age of 90, Walter decided to go to Omaha Beach where the historic battle of Normandy had taken place. This trip was to put to rest why he survived when so many didn't. It turned out to more than he had bargained for.
The night before Walter's landing at the beaches of Normandy, he had prayed that the weather would be equal to what the troops had experienced that day before their landing on the beach so many years before. Little did he know that his request was answered and bad weather is exactly what he got. Gale force winds and pelting rain was almost enough to cancel his mission to find Frances Bowens grave site.
When ready to disembark from his ship the crew decided to hold him back not sure if a man his age would make it down the gangplank. To his surprise a fellow passenger and new found friend had lifted Walter in his arms and carried him down the gangplank placing him into a waiting wheelchair below.
After overcoming several obstacles traveling through this great historic site
Walter and his group had finally found France's grave site. Not knowing for sure
if they had found the correct location a little magic saved the mission; rubbing sand on the grave stone revealed the name of Frances N. Bowen.
After returning from Normandy Walter still wanted answers. Walter has written an award winning book called "Walter's Way" to help him understand what his role in life eventually played out in American history. Where Frances' role of sacrifice was to defend and serve his fellow solders as a medic in defending this great nation. Walter's role had been to excel in every aspect in his life bringing with it compassion to his fellow Americans the best he could.
His book goes in to great detail as to how he survived tuberculosis and moved on to working with Sperry Industries to serve his nation in a different capacity bringing in new technologies to support and protect our great military that is in harm's way every day. Recognizing the caregivers of the world, to which he would not have survive his condition if it were not for them. This brings us back to Frances a man who came to the aid of his fellow solders as a medic and sacrificed his short life for ours.
Early in March of 2017 Walter had the great honor of meeting a woman who was a niece of Frances Bowen. It was a surprise to him; Walter had been looking for nearly 4 years for anyone to step forward as a friend or family member. The plea came via his Facebook page which had been setup to help support his new book "Walter's Way".
Curiously, a woman whom declared herself to be the daughter of Ada Murphy the woman previously engaged to Frances Bowen before his leaving for duty in Europe. The daughter, Muriel McVey now Muriel Schwartz searching for stories surrounding WWII she came across Walter's Facebook page filled with information on his book as well as a post titled "A Page Dedicated to Finding Relatives of Francis N. Bowen".
Realizing what she had found Muriel remembered an old friend Ginger Rica, niece to Francis Bowen. Last time the two spoke was when they were in their teens; it took a little work but with the power of Facebook Muriel had finally found Ginger to tell her the news.
A few months later Ginger Rica had the pleasure to surprise Walter at his residence in Naples Florida. As the hours of the afternoon went on the two swapped stories and made each other laugh, Walter had his first opportunity to hear firsthand about the man he had hoped would put to rest, "Why, God, Not