I am a sentimental girl, surprised? And, I have always been in awe of the military. My brother was in military school as a teenager and I remember going up on the weekends to visit, or looking on at an important event like graduation, and I would be completely overtaken with goosebumps when they would get into formation and do their practice drills. Of coarse, I would become all mush when music was involved because music has that affect on me. I don’t know any of the terms to properly describe what they were doing or why they were doing it, but it would bring up this sense of connection to the men and women who have served our country and a sense of great history would fill my heart, even at a young age. I have carried that with me into adulthood as my respect for the military has grown.
As someone who cares very much for mental health issues, I often wonder how severely my grandfathers were affected by their time of service in WWII. My maternal grandfather and paternal grandfather both served, and my paternal grandfather spent (too much) time as a prisoner of war in Germany. They came home to lead “normal” lives, but my paternal grandfather passed away due to a heart attack in his 50’s (before I was born) and the other died by suicide about 12 years ago or so. It saddens me that our service men and women sacrifice so much, and so often now, we aren’t even sure what exactly for.
In honor of them today, I wanted to share a photo of my grandfather and his squadron. They are a sight to behold in my opinion.
Following is the description of what happened to these men at the time immediately preceding the German forces taking my grandfather as a POW. (SOURCE)
“A statement given by Don Kehm (then a Master Sgt) a short time after the war is as follows: “…..German fighters attacked in a group out of the sun at 12 O’clock high. We received numerous hits, fire was visible around #3 engine. The plane immediately went into a tight spin. Centrifugal force prevented me from releasing the escape hatch. Ships inter phone was not operating. At about 3, 000 feet the tail broke off of the aircraft and the ship then began to climb & I could see all the objects coming toward me. The plane must have exploded as next I awoke on the ground with two German soldiers approaching me. I was taken to Quackenbush (Quackenbruck) jail.”
According to statements by Estil V. McGuffee, he, Howard T. Skaggs, and Royal W. Lingenfelter were blown out but George F. Danehower, Armand C. Burt and Donald K. Kehm may have baled out.
Sgt Esssry’s dog tags were found in the wreckage and it is thought his remains were have been consumed by the fire.”
This is simply my effort to remind us all that our service men and women need us to provide them with resources and compassion while they are serving and when they come home. I thank each and every one of them for their service.