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.

89 thoughts on “The Letter

    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Thank you John! I just wrote a followup about Heros and put an offer on the blog page for my ETSY store. 10% to charity for autism to whoever buys before Feb. 14th!

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  1. pishnguyen

    Simply a beautiful, beautiful post.

    Many, many happy birthday wishes to Roy! And heartfelt thanks and gratitude for his service and sacrifice for our country. Thank you, Roy, for our Freedom. I hope you have many more happy birthdays to come!

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  2. Laila Kacher

    What a cute story to tell and what a blessing Roy is in your life.
    A BIG Happy Birthday to you Roy and thank you so much for your service to our country. My own father has many experiences with the Germans during the war as he grew up in Norway and the Germans occupied their family farm for some time. My wonderful grandfather, Olav, was in the Norwegian underground during the war and was also in a concentration camp twice and escaped. My dad immigrated to the US in 1948 at the young age of 16 years old. God Bless you.

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    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Thank you Laila! I just wrote a followup about Heros and put an offer on the blog page for my ETSY store. 10% to charity for autism to whoever buys before Feb. 14th!

      Like

      Reply
  3. Tillie Jones

    Dear Roy,
    May your each and every birthday be happier than the last
    May you find your days of shadow are hidden in the past
    May God bless you on your journey and fill your days with mirth
    May the love of friends and family warm each day you’re here on earth.
    ~Tillie McQuaid Jones

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    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Thank you Tillie! I just wrote a followup about Heros and put an offer on the blog page for my ETSY store. 10% to charity for autism to whoever buys before Feb. 14th!

      Like

      Reply
  4. Donna (Bill and Claire's daughter)

    Happy Birthday Roy! And thank you for putting your life on the line for all of us! May God continue to bless you richly!

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  5. rstieve

    Happy Birthday, Roy, and thank you for your service. As a journalist, I’m grateful for the freedom of speech we enjoy in this country. Without you and your sacrifices, we might not have that Constitutional guarantee.

    Robert Stieve, Editor in Chief, Arizona Highways magazine

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  6. Deborah Skalko

    Happiest of Birthdays, Roy, from two Air Force Veterans. Thank you for your unselfish service to our country and the many untold sacrifices you have made during your lifetime.
    Debbie & Jim Skalko, California

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  7. Lwn Demmon

    Happy Birthday Roy. Thank you for your service to our country and thank God that you have been able to enjoy all these years since.

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  8. Jenn Patrick

    Happy birthday Roy and thank you Thank You THANK YOU from the bottom my heart for being an American hero. Your bravery has helped all Americans keep the freedoms we enjoy. I salute you and hope your birthday and every day for the rest of your life is filled with love, joy, family and friends! Hip Hip HORAAYYY!

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  9. Joyce Candela

    What a wonderful letter and bit of history. You must be so proud. Thanks for your service. I believe in all we do to keep our country free. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and an even more exciting year. God bless you.

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  10. Lisa Lassiter

    Happy Birthday Mr. Roy and Thank You so much for your service! It is because of men like you that we have been able to enjoy such a great country. Hope you have a great day! I’m so glad Alesia shared this story with us.

    The other next thing is we share a birthday. I feel honored to share this day with you. I’m telling my friends it is my second annual 50th birthday!

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  11. Dulcie Garrett

    Roy we will probably never meet, but I want you to know that your story is inspiring and that I have nothing but respect and thanks for what you and so many others did for us. Oh by the way, you and I share our birthdays–HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROY:)

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  12. Roxanne

    Happy Birthday Roy! Hope you have a wonderful day! I appreciate your service to our country and for our individual freedoms.

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  13. Peggy Gilkey

    Happy Birthday Roy !! Thank you for your service to our Country !! This was an awsome war story !! Thanks for sharing it with us Alesia and Roy for surviving it and relating it to you !!

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  14. Marsha Ross

    Hi Roy!

    Happy Birthday to an American hero! Have a great day & a happy, healthy year ahead. Thank you for your service. Blessings!

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  15. Geoffrey Heath

    I’ve heard bravery comes when you’re scared as hell and you go forward and attempt mission accomplishment anyway.
    After being wounded twice in combat, I sometimes wonder if that’s just an excuse for stupidity or insanity.
    Regardless, if it weren’t for men like you in this great nation to show young men like us that even when death is right on us, we can always prevail. You’ve absolutely paid your debt to the American people and deserve only the best things in this life.
    Thank you sir for your dedication and sacrifices.

    Happy birthday Roy!
    Sergeant Geoffrey Heath
    USMC/RET

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  16. Beverly Williford

    Happy Birthday Roy. May you have many more! Thank you for bravely serving out country. If it were’nt for people like you, we would all be speaking German.

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  17. twotiretirade

    Happy Birthday Roy, I believe your sacrifice and courage gave me the motivation to become a better more service oriented individual. This is a lesson I hope to pass to my children. So your example and actions have had a cross generational positive affect to those you know and other you dont. May your day be special and bright.

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  18. marbee

    ♥´¯) ¸.☆´¯)
    (¸☆´ (¸.♥´´¯`•.¸¸.☆
    ´¯`•.¸¸.Happy Birthday Dear Roy !!!´¯`•.¸¸.
    We thank God every day for the service of our war heros like you, and remain in the fight every day for the blessings received from your efforts. I can only hope we have the fortitude you have for God has surely blessed YOU!

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  19. metan

    I can’t imagine how hard it would have been to write that letter when he probably believed he might not be alive when his much-loved parents read it.

    Happy Birthday to you sir!

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