Joe Diblin is a treasure! I don’t know Joe personally; only met him once when I introduced myself to him at the Lewisburg Weis store a number of years ago. I was relatively new to the area and recognized him from his picture.
A fellow veteran, albeit of a later period, I complimented him on his marvelous accounts of his war time recollections, whether they were in terms of the role he played, or the experiences of others told to him or that had been passed on to him.
Joe’s accounts are major contributions to the archives of history’s most expansive human conflict. A former pilot training officer, he gives his readers an intimate account of just what it took to prepare young men for aerial battle, a side of warfare crucial to success in combat and seldom told beyond the superficial. His stories of local men and women and their wartime exploits, as well as the impacts some had on the home front are riveting.
Joe is among those few folks who may be willing and still able to give first-person accounts of military life during World War II. I certainly hope that not only will his written words be forever preserved, but that an effort will be undertaken, if not already done so, to compile a first-person oral history. Such a project is a must, whether carried out by school, or college students or as part of a community historic preservation effort. Joe Diblin’s experiences and those of his contemporaries must be preserved for future generations.
Our Valley communities are blessed with the resources to do just that. I hope that there are individuals or groups out there poised to make such a commitment, and if they have not already done so, to begin now, before it is too late.
David Goodhart, Lewisburg