A never ending love affair

Pulling folders from my file cabinet this week, instantly transported me back in time. The contents made me smile, cry, and appreciate fleeting friendships with some of the world's Greatest Generation. You see, I'm a WWII historian, who had the chance to meet men (and women) who changed my life. They were multifaceted individuals who chose to open their hearts and souls to me. They told me about their humble beginnings, then took me to another place and time, an arduous journey filled with audacious hate and horror. They were thrown into this fire, and many didn't come home. I met the "lucky" ones. Don't call us heroes, they requested. Our buddies who died overseas were the true heroes.

The vast majority are no longer here, however, they're never truly gone, because their personalities burst into life each time I see their faces in photos, read their memoirs or the sweet letters they sent to me over the years.

I remember Art's wonderful sense of humor. I recall Al's gratefulness when I took an avid interest in his wartime history. "My family has no interest", he sadly admitted, so he sent me his treasured collection. Then there's Carl and Tony. They met during the war, became lifelong friends, and when it came time to conduct interviews, my friend Jim and I, decided we would film them together. Carl eventually "adopted" me and I referred to him as my "earthly" father. And what about David, who frequently called, and when he couldn't, he'd record his voice, and send me audio files filled with love.

There are dozens of soldiers, Bill, John, Bob, Cliff, Irving, Rene, Art, James, Bennett, Russ, Roque ... and each one has a special place in my heart...

But, one veteran, one folder, and a one very special card stands out above the rest, tonight. Tom! We formed a quick bond, and I remember him telling me once, that if I had been born earlier... It was so sweet. The card? Oh yes, I bet you are very curious. I hadn't opened it in years, and finally shared it recently, with a close friend; the daughter of one of the vets I met. We both got tears in our eyes. I still can't get through it without crying. Get out a tissue or two. I already have.

94 & counting

Dear Marion: I was sitting here singing to myself when I came across the last verse of 'Danny Boy' and thought of your Dad, 'Monday'. I saw a proud father looking down on a  Very Proud Daughter and got a little mushy as I sang the last verse. These would have been his words.

I shall hear thou soft you tread above me
And all my grove will warmer sweeter be
Then you will bend and tell me you love me
And I shall rest in peace until you come to me

Love, Tom

Even though his words were a bit different then the actual verse,below. They will always mean the world to me.

'And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me and
I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me'


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