usatoday – A World War II bride tells her story of strength and perseverance

DETROIT – Alice Lawson can still remember the bombs whizzing over her head, 75 years later.

It wasn’t how she imagined life as a newlywed would be.

Lawson, a teenager in Liège, Belgium, found love in an unlikely place: The middle of a war zone. 

He (her husband) looked at me and then came over and presented himself,” she said. “That was it. Then we started dating.”

She’s one of more than 100,000 women from continental Europe who ended up as war brides. Much like Rosie the Riveter, cadet nurses, and Susan Ahn Cuddy —  the first female gunnery officer in the navy — war brides contributed in their own ways to change American history.

Alice and John Lawson in a photo taken in 1948. 
Lawson, originally from Belgium, met her husband during World War II in Belgium where both were in the medical field.
During the war Lawson and her family helped hide Jewish people from the Nazi's saving dozens from going to concentration camps.
She married her husband a few days after VE Day in May of 1945.

The U.S. government passed the Immigration Act of 1924, which restricted immigration quotas from Europe and completely cut off immigration from Asia. This act stemmed from the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and created the visa system for immigrants.

As World War II ravaged on, many American soldiers found themselves in lengthy deployments overseas. It’s easy to imagine how GIs were looking for companionship through the locals and ended up finding love in the process.  

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