Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Thursday, August 25, 2016

One more time

Today I am going to a reunion. I am going in place of my father who passed away 26 years ago. The squadron and group that he flew with in WW2 are gathering in Baltimore, Maryland. I have been in contact with these folks and today is the day. This group of folks, sons, daughters and grandchildren of those brave men are gathering to remember and honor them. It brings me a measure of pride to be included. Our WW2 veterans are growing few and soon will all be just memories. This group seeks to preserve those memories and share them with the world. It is a noble cause and a worthy one. I have gathered the old photos and mementos my Dad left behind and will take them with me. It isn't much to show, nothing fantastic, but objects full of meaning to me. All the photos I have scanned and placed on a card. I will give those pictures to the curator of a museum for inclusion in their collection. That in itself will bring me some satisfaction knowing Dads photos will not be lost to time. I often think about that, old photos and the memories they hold. They all deserve a home. I have no children or grandchildren that actually knew my Dad. Those pictures hold little value to them, other than they know I value them. But, I worry. Where will they go after I am gone ? Will anyone tell their story or indeed, even remember them ?
 That is what started this little quest in the first place. I had those pictures, so many with nameless faces, and felt a sadness for that. I began to assemble them into a small album. I had intended to call that album, The Ghosts of War, as I felt I would never be able to identify those men. Then , in only what can be called a serendipitous moment, I found on the web this reunion. I wasn't searching for it, it just appeared as I was doing a completely unrelated search. Fate intervened and I may be able to identify some of those folks after all. In fact, a few have been confirmed already ! From a few notes on the back of those pictures several men are named. I have exchanged e-mail with a member of the group. I am hopeful that the rest will be identified. I'll have to think of a new name for that album, perhaps, " my fathers' memories " would be more appropriate. Or memories reborn. I'll just have to wait and see how it all goes.
 Included in those pictures are many of " nose art " on B-24 aircraft. I can only assume that those planes were all part of the squadron. There is much to be learned about this and I am anxious to learn. I know little of how the organization of units in the Army Air Force, as it was called back then were defined. I know that dad was in the Fifth Air Force, 43rd Bomb group, 65 squadron. I have that in a picture. I'm certain all those pictures of those planes exist in lots of other places. They look like they were mass produced in some fashion, probably sold in the BX or whatever they called it. I have one that is a Christmas Card ! That one is pretty neat. As far as I know none of those planes have survived to this day. I believe there is at least one B-24 preserved and flying today. At least there was a few years back, as I did visit it when it landed in Easton, Maryland.
 And so today I will go to meet these folks and share a common bond with them. They are all strangers to me and I to them. We do share that connection however. A common interest. I am not as involved as these folks obviously are. This is just a passing fancy with me. It is something I need to lay to rest. These memories of my father should be saved and shared. Once I have done that to my satisfaction I will move on. It will be enough. Dad flew his last combat mission on Aug 12, 1945, 71 years ago. I will go, in his stead, to this gathering. I hear tell one gentleman will be there  that walked the runway with my Dad. Whether he remembers my Dad or not is not important to me, but to shake his hand would be amazing. In a way, it would be almost like touching my fathers hand one more time. The circle completed.