It is with great sadness that I write. On February 24 my father, Gerard A. “Jerry” Francois, followed his last command to attend his Supreme Commander. On Weds. , he developed a bladder infection and pneumonia. His lungs were too damaged from the pneumonia in December to fight, but on his last day he still managed to sing a little and say goodbye to those he loved. He was so proud of having served with the 3/31st and spent most of his life trying to get the real story of what happened at the Chosin Reservoir told. It was his greatest honor to escort the Colors and Bowl home to American soil at Ft. Sill.
After his stroke 23 years ago, there were only a few phrases he could say or write. He would tell people about his service by saying the words “Prisoner of War” and writing out 31st. During the rehab from his pneumonia in December, he had to learn to cough and clear his throat. We would tell him to “Growl like a Polar Bear” to which he would growl and reply “Polar Bears”. One of the things he said on his last day was “Polar Bears”.
He lived his life as he served his country, with honor and respect. Pro Patria were not just words but his way of life.