By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter
Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2009 8:58 pm
Were Tennessee to choose a poster couple for Veterans Day or for marriage and military service, Bill and Doris Tanner of Union City would, no doubt, be top contenders. These two senior citizens — he’s 90, she’s 89 — seem ageless as they sit and reminisce about the great war of yesteryear that touched their lives when they were in their early 20s. The specter of Pearl Harbor haunted all. He went to war and didn’t come back for almost three years. And he came back a war hero, although he didn’t trumpet it. And what of her during the war years? She served the nation on two fronts — public education and aviation. She served two years in a quasi-military unit — all females, all aviators. And now, almost 70 years later, a grateful nation is about to formally recognize her wartime service and that of a band of sisters whose organization was known as “WASP” or “Women’s Airforce Service Pilots.” Brief history In their time, Bill and Doris Tanner have seen a lot of life come and go. There was the experience of the war years, of course, and after the war, the year-by-year struggle to build their lives around family, farm and community. No feature story could tell the Tanners’ story in its entirety.