Saturday, March 13, 2010

Family Heros and War

There has been much recalling of the service of the "greatest generation" who fought WWII on our media this week. This seems to have been triggered with the Tom Hanks historical series, "Pacific". All of my uncles served in the military during WWII, most of them in the Pacific. My Uncle Sylvan, however, served in Africa and Europe as a glider pilot doing troop transport. After D Day and the battle of Market Garden in Holland he died in a transport accident in England.

My sister, Anne Nephew, has been authoring a blog ( about Sylvan's life and his adventures in the war. She has visited the site of his death and interviewed eye witnesses. She has visited the fields in France and Holland where he landed gliders filled with soldiers behind enemy lines. She is energetic in finding and interviewing veterans who served with him. Today her posting is entitled "REASONS TO ATTEND A WWII REUNION WITH DAD OR GRANDPA". Below is one paragraph from her posting,

"At my first (WWII gilder) reunion I met a C-47 pilot who knew about my uncle’s death in a personal way. We (had) invited a couple to join our table in the small restaurant in Fort Walton Beach, FL in 2008. We learned he was a pilot with the same Troop Carrier Group as my uncle. I introduced myself and he said quietly to me, “I know about your uncle.” Later I asked if he knew the pilot who towed my uncle’s glider the day of the fatal accident. He said softly, “He was my best friend. He died last year.” It was a very emotional moment for both of us.I then realized the shock of my uncle’s death was much larger than a long term family tragedy. The accident had deeply affected those who knew the pilot, co-pilot and mechanic in their troop carrier group. The shock of that day, including details that would never be known to his family, never left the minds of some who knew him."

She shares the insights from many of her veteran interviewees about America and about war.

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