WOLFEBORO —Reaching into his back pocket, William Cronin retrieved his wallet and pulled out a few essential pieces of history – a part of his own past that he keeps close by his side to this day. These pieces of history, now tattered and worn, were his official military documents from WWII, which is just part of the story he shares in the second installment of the recently released Faces Of Taylor video series.
“I entered the war halfway through my sophomore year in high school after Pearl Harbor because I wanted to protect my country,” Cronin explained.
Joined by his wife of 70 years in the filming of his segment on Faces of Taylor, Cronin shared many of his adventures during WWII, including why he selected the Navy as his branch of choice.
“I went into the Navy because I like to fish,” he laughed, as he explained that while growing up in New England he had always enjoyed fishing.
“There were three fishing rod outfits on board, and I fished at ports where there was no action,” added Cronin, who said he was close with the chef on board who had the rods in his possession.
In sharing his experiences, Cronin also expressed some of the hardships he experienced while overseas, including the difficulty he had spending time away from his family.
“I had a good mother and father and a good family, thank God,” he said.
Expressing appreciation at Cronin’s candor throughout the segment, Mike Culver, executive director of The Wright, said Faces of Taylor underscores something most people today do not consider when thinking about WWII.
“Many of the men and women were teenagers when they enlisted,” he said. “Some of the people that went off to war were little more than kids at the time. It is pretty extraordinary to think of the courage they had to make the sacrifices they did at such a young age.”
Gretchen Gandini, Director of Development and Community Outreach at Taylor Community, agreed and said Faces of Taylor has “stirred up many memories” for residents.
“It has been an incredible experience to see their faces light up as they share their life stories,” she said. “That is really the best part for me.”
Faces of Taylor will culminate in a 30-minute pre-recorded video that will be released in the fall as part of a special virtual event that includes additional interviews with residents.
In addition to Faces of Taylor, Taylor Community is co-presenting Shaped by Conflict: Mementoes of the WWII Era, an exhibit that provides an in-depth look at common mementos and personal items of the WWII era. Additional exhibit sponsors include Some items in the exhibit, co-presented by Weirs Publishing Company and John and Evelyn Frank.
The region’s leading resource for educators and learners of all ages on World War II, the Wright Museum features more than 14,000 items in its collection that are representative of both the homefront and battlefield. To learn more about Wright Museum, or Faces of Taylor, visit wrightmuseum.org.