In honor of Veterans day, I thought I would do a short post about my late Grandpa, Frank Mjaatvedt. My grandpa was the most amazing and kindest person I’ve ever known. He was a Norwegian who immigrated here and fought for citizenship to represent the United States in WWII. Prior to this he was in the Royal Norwegian Air Force. He was an amazing skier/ski jumper and fought in the Italian Alps on skis as a part of the American 10th Mountain Division as Private First Class.
My grandpa had a passion for photography and was granted a pass to be allowed to take photos during the war, which was a great honor for him. When the war was over, he started his own photography studio that he named “The Little Norway Studio,” which was his main career for the rest of his life. His love for photography has trickled down the family line, and is a huge part of my moms, siblings and my life.
In 2005, my grandpa was interviewed for a WWII piece for a local television station which was aired later that next year. I’ve cherished the transcript of his interview mostly because I know I will never forget his life story. I wish I would have listed to his stories more intently when he was here, because now I would do anything to hear them again. I am much more interested now that I am older and I now have so many questions I want to ask. My love for travel and history unfortunately did not come until after he had passed.
One of the parts of his war story that really shocks and stands out to me, is his initial reaction to his war experience that he encountered the day he got off the the boat. In the transcript it reads ,
“We arrived in Naples a couple days before Christmas of 1944 I think and we stayed in one of Mussolini’s orphanages overnight and I remember there were kids and groups all around begging for food. I was just astonished really how little ones were running around and it was cold too. There was no snow but it was really cold and there were kids dressed poorly and I remember a fellow was eating C-rations in the school part and there was a big auditorium but you couldn’t sit down, you had to stand and eat off of the tables and one of them said, “oh this doggone C-ration” and threw he it out the doorway and a bunch of kids dove on it. We never realized just how bad it was.”
I attached the link of the transcript below.
I am proud today to say that someone in my family fought so our country didn’t have to reach the horrible levels of poverty and death that were rampant during war time in Europe. I feel so lucky to have our soldiers fighting for our freedom and safety daily so I can life a comfortable life. A big thank you to all our veterans!!!