Veteran Earns National Recognition in Time Life Book

Veteran Earns National Recognition in Time Life Book
By: Amy Jacquin

Sikeston, MO - One of the new Time Life books on VE Day features a photo of a long-time Sikeston resident. His sons still live in Southeast Missouri, and were incredibly surprised to learn of the national recognition.

The dentist's office with the big tooth is a landmark in Sikeston, and where Dr. Howard Johnson practiced for many years before retiring in the early 80's. Dr. Johnson has since passed away.

But he's remembered for his career, as well as 30 years of service in the army. He retired a Lt Colonel, and served as a Captain during World War Two. He also earned a bronze star.

"My brother called, and said he found this book and had a picture of Dad in it," says Doug Johnson, a son who now lives in Fruitland.

On page 15 of Time Life's VE Day, there's a photo of 29-year-old Dr. Johnson doing dental work on a soldier during the war. It was in Italy, behind enemy lines. The caption says he's from Kansas City, but that's only where he went to school.

"It makes us feel so very proud," says Doug.

"I was so pleasantly surprised," adds Ben Johnson, Dr. Johnson's grandson. "It's quite an honor."

Doug's grandchildren will never know their great-grandfather... so this book is an extra special gift.

"It's a piece of history we can all look back on," he says. "I'm looking forward to passing it down. I want both my sons and grandson to have it... all the men in the family."

Dr. Larry Anthony worked with Dr. Johnson for six years before taking over the practice, and says Johnson told many war stories.

"He said he was working on a soldier's teeth and another soldier came into the room and warned them the German's were coming," remembers Dr. Anthony. "He could look outside and see the Germans about a mile away, coming across the desert. He said he and the other soldier just ran as fast as they could."

"I consider us the last generation who had the chance to talk to the veterans and here their stories first hand," says his grandson, Ben. "But our children won't get that chance. So this helps make it more personal."

His stories may have made a good book. Instead, his picture is in one.

"He would probably just shake his head and say no," says his son, Doug. "He'd be embarrassed."