EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 23, 2014

German village remembers Lawrence airman, flight crew

Lionel Bourassa among 10 to be honored next month


“I will also tell them about his life in Lawrence, his graduation from high school in 1938 and his job as a linotypist before the war. I want them to know that he was a quiet young man, with strong, passionate beliefs in God and his country, as he expressed in his letters home,” Whiting said.

“It’s a great honor for me to be able to present this information on the 10 men who were shot down that fateful day. They were from eight different states and truly represent the best of what our country had and has to offer,” he said.

Bourassa was one of two crew members from Massachusetts. Two were from Nebraska. The others came from Michigan, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, New York and Wisconsin.

A 1938 graduate of Lawrence High School, Bourassa was the son of Marie and Louis Bourassa of 59 Brookfield St., Lawrence. He graduated from Wentworth Institute in Boston in 1940. Before enlisting in the Air Force, he worked as a linotypist at The Newburyport News.

Bourassa was reported missing less than two weeks after he had been awarded the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster for participation in 34 combat missions and for outstanding achievement in combat,

“A veteran of 37 missions, he entered the Air Force in August, 1942, and has flown over such prized and heavily-defended targets as Munich, Vienna and Ploesti oil field,” The Lawrence Evening Tribune reported in a Dec. 21, 1944 story.

Whiting said his presentation will include military photos of Bourassa and other crew members flashed across a big screen behind him as he shares his personal research about the men, their roles in the bombing mission and their families.

“Then, I will talk about the survivors who came home after the war and what they did with their lives,” he said. A professional translator will convert Whiting’s presentation into German so residents of the village can understand it.

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