Recently Phoenix West Rotary Co-President Gary Drummond reflected on the past year in Rotary. “It has become clear to me that I miss sharing lunch with my fellow Rotarians. Talking and laughing together can’t be replicated at a Zoom meeting.”
“One of my fondest memories as a young Rotarian (when I was a member of the Phoenix Thunderbird Rotary Club) was eating lunch with Magnus “Mac" von Braun. Mac was a member of the Phoenix Thunderbird Rotary Club and was likely in his late seventies at the time. Fortunately for Mac, the Internet was relatively new and Wikipedia had not yet launched. Otherwise, Mac would have been peppered with questions from a young half-German Rotarian on a weekly basis.
Mac was a rocket specialist who worked under his brother, Wernher von Braun (generally regarded as the architect of the V-2 rocket), for Nazi Germany during World War II. I recall Mac recounting that upon learning of the death of Adolph Hitler and that Soviet troops were quickly approaching, Mac was “elected” by the V-2 team to surrender to the American troops. Mac was elected because he spoke English and at 26 was one of the youngest (and presumably most expendable) rocket scientists. On a bicycle, Mac rode down a hill to find the American troops and arrange for the surrender. I have attached a picture of the German rocket scientists surrendering in 1945.”
(Mac is second from the right. Wernher is the one in the cast having broken his arm in a car accident two months earlier.)
Wernher was subsequently secretly moved to the United States where he developed rockets for the United States, including rockets for the first space satellite and the Saturn V project.
As for Mac, he moved to the United States where he worked for Chrysler in their missile and automotive divisions.
And later in his life he relocated to Phoenix and shared lunch with Rotarians like me.
Those experiences are what I miss.
Magnus "Mac" von Braun