Ray Summers and Bill Gateway found it hard to believe it was going to be 50 years since the end of World War II. They had become lifelong friends on a beach in the Philippines during that turbulent time. Even though they lived on opposite sides of the country, the distance didn’t keep them from staying in touch and watching each other’s families grow. A reunion with their WWII military unit would be a great opportunity to get old comrades together to celebrate and remember a time when they were all part of history. They hoped all their planning would culminate in a reunion to remember. Little did they realize this reunion would involve a change in plans so drastic it would put all of them in harm’s way one more time. It would take one of their highly decorated, military sons to help bring them all home safely and keep several countries from going to war. This is an adventure story whose pages are interwoven with bravery, treachery, and political intrigue.
Jeff Thrall was born in a farming community in central Wisconsin and his family moved to Western New York when he was young. He grew up in a suburb of Rochester and spent his summers in Canada canoeing and camping. This is where he learned to enjoy reading and storytelling because there was no television or even electricity. Mr. Thrall currently lives in Rochester, New York with his wife and has three grown children and three grandchildren. He worked for a local police department for twenty-three years where he supervised reserve officers and has recently retired as transportation administrator for a local school district. He is a graduate of SUNY Brockport with a BS in Biology, master’s in education, and CAS in School Business Administration. He previously published 'The Reunion' in 2005 and ‘The Superintendent’ in 2021. He has been working on several other projects including a second edition of “the Reunion’ scheduled for 2022 and the ‘The Retirement’ scheduled for 2023. See http://www.jeffreythrallbooks.com.
With all the headlines about school violence today we've come accustomed to scenes like this. Folks my age look at this and say back in the day this would never happen. When I was in high school back in the late 1960's I saw a drunk high school student take a swing at one of his teachers. He never landed the blow, the teacher gracefully dodging the swing and subduing the student. Everything was quickly and quietly handled. Talking to the teacher later he explained that he was a veteran and saw heavy combat in World War Two. He said it was all he could do not to overact to the young man's attempted assault. Instinct and training told him to fight back. Looking at this scene in the book you have a man who is an educator and a trained Navy SEAL. How does he react? What's appropriate? What's over reaction?
Before the first student could take a second step towards the security officer, Jon grabbed the hand holding the bat, pulling it back, and at the same time kicking the young man’s legs out from underneath him. He seemed to fly up and then immediately down, landing flat on his back knocking the wind out of him. This distracted the young man with the gun, who was able to get it out and was starting to raise it. He swung the weapon towards the movement, but Jon grabbed the boy’s hand, and using his own momentum, pulled the boy’s arm behind him while forcing him down towards the floor. The young man pulled the trigger, and nothing happened. Someone shouted, he’s got a gun, but the movement all seemed to freeze when he found himself inches off the floor on his knees and his arm pinned behind his back. To his right, he could see his friend lying on his back groaning, the small baseball bat next to the crowd where it had landed. He looked up over his shoulder at the man holding his arm behind his back. There was no expression on the man’s face. No anger or fear like he had seen in the others just before Willie hit the lady principal. He looked into the blue eyes behind the glasses. They were cold and expressionless. There was something else. He looked around as much as he could. There was no sound or movement anywhere. Everyone was standing still, frozen, and all were looking right at the two of them.