Happy Memorial Day! It is a day to remember the sacrifices of many of our relatives and countrymen and women. Every family has been touched by war, with either the returning home of their dear ones or not. In our family, my dad and uncle returned home, though my Uncle Bill was injured and suffered with Post Traumatic Stress later in his life. My dad was just angry that four years at the peak of his life was served in Europe. He was lucky that he never fired a shot. With such a tender soul, it would have haunted him for life.
But, it was my Uncle Jerome, mom's older brother, who was a navigator in a Flying Fortress that was shot down after a bombing run on Bremen, Germany that affected the family the most. He was filling in for an ill navigator, they had engine problems past the point of no return, so they were sitting ducks. Flack got them. Theirs was the only plane that went down in that area for the entire war. I know because my family had a congressional delegation to look for him after the war. I have the papers. I have the German papers about picking up the plane that landed on a farm. We think that the bodies were striped and buried to cover up the theft as no mention of bodies are in the reports. Four men survived the crashed, two landed in camps while the other two made their way back to their base outside of Cambridge, England.
Jerome's remains have never been found, even after our pleas for help to the people in the area.
After receiving the telegram that her son was missing, my grandmother never was the same again. My mom was 13-years old and lost both her mother and her brother that day. She and her father were very close for the rest of his life.
My grandmother died at the age of 57. My grandfather died at the age of 94.
With all the picnics and all the family fun today, ask your oldest relatives about the people in your family who fought and either came home or not. Or, share their stories with the next generation. Today is the day to remember them.