Charlie Dukes, a World War II veteran with harrowing tales of being a prisoner of war, is to share his story in an upcoming presentation at Eastern Illinois University.
Dukes, author of “Good Morning – But the Nightmares Never End,” is to speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the Grand Ballroom of EIU’s University Union. Admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.
Dukes emphasizes the importance of freedom and self-discipline, while urging listeners to zealously guard their freedom.
Dukes grew up in Georgetown and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, during his sophomore year in college.
He was sent to Europe 80 days after the June 6, 1944, Normandy Invasion (D-Day), and he immediately went to battle in the nearby Cherbourg Peninsula.
On Thanksgiving in 1944, the Germans captured Dukes, and he and 35 others were held for six months as prisoners of war in Runddorf on the Czech border. While there, he endured extremely bad treatment and lost 40 percent of his body weight as a result of forced labor and starvation.
Dukes managed to escape the camp, but he was captured again and placed in a Russian-controlled prison near Berlin. In December 1945, on his second attempt, Dukes successfully escaped, making him one of the last recorded American POWs to return from Russian camps.
Dukes married in 1949 and had four children. He now operates the Charlie Dukes Museum of Militaria in Georgetown. Its website is http://members.home.nl/oostvogels/Dukes.htm.The event is sponsored by EIU’s University Board.