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Rita Cosby: Americans Must Appreciate Military, Freedom

By Dan Weil   |   Friday, 21 May 2010 08:27 PM

Americans need to appreciate our military and our freedom, says Rita Cosby, a special correspondent for “Inside Edition” on CBS whose father became a prisoner of war as a freedom fighter.

“Quiet Hero: Secrets from My Father's Past” details the heroism of her 84-year-old father, Ryszard Kossobudzki, a Polish prisoner of Germany during World War II.

“I hope readers realize how important it is to stand up for what you believe in — to be patriotic, to care about your country and democracy,” Cosby tells Newsmax.TV.

Editor’s Note: Get Rita Cosby’s new book about her heroic father — Go Here Now.

The child of her father’s best friend in the German prison told her, “My father said you are free because people died for you. Don’t forget it. Make sure you appreciate your country,” Cosby says. “That’s very inspirational.”

Story continues below video.

Anyone who reads the book, which was released Wednesday, will realize how great the U.S. military is, says Cosby, a three-time Emmy winner and New York Times best-selling author.

“I think this book will make people realize how important it is to fight for freedom, how great the values are that we’re founded on and what it means to be free.”

Cosby was inspired to write her book after her mother died a few years ago. Sorting through her mother’s possessions, Cosby found a rusted POW tag, a tattered Polish arm band, and sheets with code names for her father.

That made her realize “I finally need to know my history,” Cosby tells Newsmax.TV. “This is the most important story I’ll ever tell.”

Her father literally saw the beginning of World War II as a 13-year-old living in Warsaw. One day in 1939, he and his own father looked up to see planes overhead.

Cosby’s grandfather was happy to see what he thought was a Polish air force exercise. To his horror, he soon learned that the planes were German craft attacking his homeland.

“A few minutes later, they saw bombs dropping on Warsaw,” she says.

“They tried to flee toward Romania. They were just a few miles away, and then suddenly they get wind that the Russians were coming from the other direction. My father was thrown into World War II.”

Her father’s Catholic family could have sneaked him into Switzerland, Cosby says. “He said, ‘No, I’d rather die with friends than live with strangers.’ I’m so amazed at his courage and devotion to his country.”

Cosby’s dad joined the resistance without even letting his parents know and fought Nazis on the front lines. He was taken to a prison camp near Dresden and escaped.

“He was 90 pounds and 6 feet tall, walking with other escaped POWs in the woods,” she says.

An American plane dropped a note wrapped around a chocolate bar with a red ribbon.

“The note said, ‘Welcome, there are no troops between you and our lines. You’re free,’” Cosby says.

“My dad came upon American troops showering him with cigarettes and chocolates. It’s a great story about American troops and the great role our forces played in World War II and liberating the world.”

Cosby says she wondered about her father’s past ever since she saw the scars on his torso when she was 8. She asked her mom what had happened and was told, “Your father went through something difficult growing up. We don’t talk about it,” Cosby recalls.

“The door was closed.”

So when her father was willing to talk, “I had to seize this moment,” Cosby says.

And not just for herself: “Also for the world to know what these people experienced.”

The Poles weren’t too happy last year when President Obama pulled the plug on Bush administration plans for a European missile shield, Cosby explains.

The Poles actually learned of the decision on Sept. 17, the same date Soviets invaded Poland in 1939. “To get word on that particular day just added salt to the wound,” Cosby says.
“Poles are watching to see where things go with this government.”

Poland is a tremendous ally of the United States, she points out. “It was one of the first to step up in Iraq. They are there in Afghanistan by our side. It’s important America never forgets that.”

Editor’s Note: Get Rita Cosby’s new book about her heroic father — Go Here Now.

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