The Letter

Roy in 1967 in another war- Vietnam.  He served our country for decades upon decades. He was a true American Hero.

Roy in 1967 in another war- Vietnam. He served our country for decades upon decades. He was a true American Hero.

Dear Mom and Dad,
How are you? We have been assigned for five combat flights with our B 17 Bomber plane and have completed three of them. I am very scared. I am writing this to tell you I love you, but I do not think I will come out alive. We are losing a lot of men after their planes are being shot down over Germany. I don’t think we will make it. When you are in the sky dropping bombs, the germans are right above us to see what we are up to and then below on the ground they are shooting anti-aircraft flak at us. We can’t see a damn thing from the black clouds the flak make. No one has our back. It is not a good thing. I hope one day to see you again, but if I do not I want you to know how much I love you.
Your son,
Roy

On Roy’s 4th combat flight as a gunner of a B-17 Bomber, he was shot down. Something in Roy told him that his days were numbered. Roy’s parents received the news he was missing in action by the Red Cross as was customary in those days. No one knew for sure what had happened except the 10 member crew on that fateful day in 1943. The Bomber was shot in several places, but with the handiwork of Coles, the pilot, the plane was able to be crashed landed in a field. The crew all survived and ran for their lives. All were captured alive.
Roy then spent the next 19 months in the notorious Stalag 17 camp. The Americans occupied five compounds. There were at least 4000 American GI men in the overcrowded barracks. Hollywood has made films about this camp and what our American soldiers had to endure. Roy recalls many times when they were forced to stand outside in extreme cold weather for long periods. He lost a huge amount of his body weight during this time, but did survive to come home and tell his story.
On April 8, 1945, Roy was among 4000 POW forced to march to where freedom was at hand. He with his fellow soldiers were finally liberated on May 9, 1945. General Patton’s Army had arrived on May 2nd to where they were closely located, but it took an additional week before Roy was finally free. Roy said he never prayed much before in his young life, but after being captured he prayed ALOT. Roy still prays alot. He can not believe he is still alive! Tomorrow is his 90th birthday. Why don’t you leave a comment on my blog and I will send it to him tomorrow with all your well wishes for his birthday. Roy has been married to my mother for 20 years when they both lost their respective spouses. If you ask Roy today what he thinks of Germans. He looks at my mother and smiles and says, “I love them. I married one.” My mother was born in 1939 in Berlin right in the middle of war. Roy knows his life was spared and he thanks God everyday as I do. When I call him and ask how he is doing, I always get the same answer which is, “I am better now that you have called.” It makes me smile every time.

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89 thoughts on “The Letter

  1. alesiablogs Post author

    Thank you to all who wrote to Roy. He loved all the notes and poems also. I especially want to say a big thank you to some of you who never wrote on a blog and asked me how to do that! You came out of your comfort. Zone for a good occasion ! With much appreciation your blogger, Alesia

    Reply
  2. Vicki Rohan

    Congratulations on your 90th Birthday and thank you so much for helping us have the freedoms we have now! Happy Birthday!!

    Reply
  3. Pingback: The Letter Part 2 « alesiablogs

  4. Jenifer Grundy Hollett

    Thank you, Roy, for sharing your story and for your service. I am amazed at your openmindedness about those who were your enemy during the war, and am so happy for you that you found love again later in life! Here’s wishing you a wonderful 90th birthday!

    Reply
  5. Julie

    God Bless you, Roy! A big ‘Thank you’ to a real American Hero. It’s hard to write this –tears in my eyes. I’m always amazed and privilged to encounter someone like you who risked his life many times over so that we’d have a chance at Freedom! Happy Birthdy!!!
    Love,
    Julie Bittinger

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Let’s PARTY! « alesiablogs

    1. alesiablogs Post author

      It was great to see all the turn out on my blog . It was so much fun to read the comments from so many people all over the world! Thanks to everyone again on behalf of Roy and Hilde McGinnis.

      Reply
  7. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com

    Great post .Wishing you health and happiness .Real patriot ,Thank you for the visit.Blessing and regards.

    Reply
  8. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com

    l hope you will have the time to read my post ( the American Service men and women) Jalal

    Reply
  9. Jane

    Whenever I see stories or documentaries about the war, I am always reminded of all the destruction and death and courage and heroes. We are so extraordinarily fortunate to never have been invaded and bombed with our way of life crumbling around us. It is enough that people such as yourself had the courage and strength to do what you did to keep us all safe and the enemies far from our shores. I hope your life after the war has been full and satisfying and helped dull the difficult memories of what you went through. Thank you for your service for us all and Happy 90th Birthday.

    Reply
    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Jane,
      Thank you for such a kind note. I will be sure to pass it onto him! What you say in your note rings so true. WE are living in a crumbling world and it is just getting worse. Blessings to you and yours, Alesia

      Reply

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