Photo Story: World War II Veteran Bob Forrest
I came across this photo while searching the archive. I had been working at the Loveland Reporter-Herald for a few months and hadn’t had a chance to shoot a Veterans Day in Loveland. I was looking forward to it but parades can be daunting. With so much going on it’s hard to focus. One thing I learned from working for the Golden Transcript, where the Town of Golden held a parade nearly every weekend in the summer, was to find something unique and work it like crazy.
It wasn’t particularly shocked to see a tank in the middle of the parade staging area but I had a feeling something might happen there. I overheard someone say that one of the men about to climb aboard the tank had fought in World War II from 1941 to 1945 as tank commander. I spent some time making photos as Bob Forrest made his way onto the tank and into a seat that must have seemed very familiar.
I made some more photos and then got in the car to get ahead of the tank to a spot on the parade route that might make a good photo. I arrived too early. Everything – especially a World War II era tank – moves slowly in a parade. After waiting a while it finally came. I made a few scene-setting photos of the parade with the tank and then high tailed it to the end of the parade, Dwayne Webster Veterans Park.
I knew from watching Bob Forrest climb aboard the tank that he might need some help getting down. I wanted to be there to see how that would happen. I thought it might make a good photo. It did. What I love most about this photo is you can really see the care they are taking with this 95-year-old Veteran who had fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
As a footnote to this story, when I Googled him, I came across a video made for Bob Forrest’s 100th Birthday. I was fun to watch a slideshow of Bob Forrest, first as a young man in uniform, then as a family man and finally photos of him in at his home in an assisted living facility in Loveland. After watching the video I looked down the page on Google. Just below the entry for his 100th birthday video was an entry for Bob Forrest’s obituary. Bob Forrest had died in his 100th year. A twinge of sadness came over me as I remembered a man who briefly entered my life as a larger-than-life character with a mild and humble demeanor. As so many of the Great Generation pass, I reflect on their contribution and feel honored to have lived in a time when I can say I have know some of them.