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Nebraska town celebrates 75th anniversary of being bombed

Posted: 6:53 PM, Aug 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-15 19:53:32-04

75 years ago this week, during World War II, a tiny town in northeast Nebraska found itself in the middle of the conflict. That's because several us bombs missed their desired targets on a practice range and struck the village of Tarnov. 

Norbert Ciecior was 13 years old and asleep when his mother woke him up around 4:30 on August 16th, 1943. His house was seemingly under attack. 

"I guess we was scared that there was something that could have killed somebody because my two sisters was about six foot away in bed," says Norbert Ciecior.

Seven practice bombs fell on the town after the pilots missed a bombing range nearby. A few of those hit a house in town, including one through the roof.

"You still could see the fins, but that's about all you could see because it was all smashed," says Ciecior. 

Nobody in the house or throughout town was hurt, but the county sheriff did clear the town while the military investigated. Now 75 years later, a party is being thrown in Tarnov to remember the accidental assault, with hundreds expected to show. 

"There's only two of three cities where something like that happened and to be this small of a town with this kind of distinction I think it's really great, it's what put us on a map and it keeps us there too," says Gene Shemek, Tarnov resident.

Ciecior is now one of three people, including his sister, that recall the bombing, he says at the time even the national news talked about the sleepy town of around 60. In fact, his brother in the military found out. 

“He was out in California and and my mother sent a telegram and he knew about it before he got the telegram," says Ciecior. 

While they did help a bit, the us government never fully reimbursed the family for the damage that they did to the house.