One of the best parts of writing my novel has been the stories I have heard from people who have relatives who lived the story that I imagined. My friend and Manassas Chorale member Kay Evans told me about her father, Berle Robinson, who served as a radio operator on a B-17 crew during World War II. She gave me copies of articles about his crew’s reunion and his handwritten account of the missions they flew. They are remarkable artifacts that I was privileged to see.
I have also heard some incredible stories from acquaintances, strangers and friends at books signings and while I’m out and about. A Navy vet told me the tale of a thirty-year career Army officer who didn’t understand that promissory notes he was given as his pay were to be redeemed when he returned to the States. He held on to them all and finally cashed them in for over $6,000,000! Now that’sa ret
I was doing a book signing at the Tacketts Mill Winter Festival when two older gentlemen with pronounced accents came by. One told me he was in the war…on the German side. He said he had two choices when the war came: to try to hide and be executed by the Nazis if he were found out or to join a unit and try to do as little harm as possible. He joined the paratroops and served as a medic. The other man lived in Essen as a child and experienced the bombings that flattened that city. Both men joined the American army after the war, and came to this country a number of years ago. I found their stories enthralling and thought-provoking.
A lady came to my book signing at J.E. Rices Hardware recently and told me about her father, a Spitfire fighter pilot who was shot down on August 8, 1944, a year before the war ended, while escorting a Lancaster bomber. She was born three months later. Her story touched and moved me.
These are the stories of service and sacrifice that humble me and make me glad I wrote the book. It is a tribute to these courageous men and women who gave us the world that we all enjoy today. God bless them all!