Michael Pohorilla passed away in 2021, but his family is talking about his life in honor of Memorial Day.
NEW ALBANY, Ohio — Michael Pohorilla’s bedroom in New Albany is a shrine to his military service.
There are framed photos of him as a young aviator, his parachute cord, a piece of frack that nearly took his life, his dog tag and a tiny hacksaw inside a cardboard sheath that was sewn into the collar of a uniform in case he needed to escape from capture.
Pohorilla was part of the 8th Air Force crew that flew the B-17. He flew 35 missions and was shot down once over Belgium.
Much of his storied military career, his family says, was kept secret until 2000 when his wife died.
It was then that his son Michael Jr. began to learn about his father’s sacrifice at age 19.
“He went through flight school on a B-17 at 19 and he was discharged five days before Hitler decided to eat a bullet,” he said.
On this Memorial Day, when so many families across the country pause to remember those who never made it home, the Pohorillas are remembering their father who not only made it home but felt obligated to tell others about the heroes of the war.
“People are enjoying a free life because of the people that sacrificed and gave it all so that they can enjoy their freedoms now, ” Michael Jr. said.
“He wanted to share it. He felt ‘I have a story to tell, and I need to tell, and I really need to tell it.’ These people need to know what really happened,” said his daughter-in-law Denise Poulin.
Pohorilla died in 2021 and his urn is now housed at Mott’s Military Museum where a celebration of life was performed in March.
The family has already made plans to have the Pohorilla’s body interned at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
Pohorilla was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2019.
He went on to become world-renowned petroleum and industrial chemist.
He was an active member of the Post in Canal Winchester as well as a dedicated volunteer at Mott’s Military Museum.
In 2013, 10TV featured Pohorilla as he flew in a B-17.
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