Letter to the editor: Lessons from my father on surviving through difficult times
Seventy-five years ago, my father was liberated from a prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany by Allied forces. The date was April 29, 1945, and it was his wedding anniversary to my mother. He was shot down over France and spent more than a year trying to survive. World War II and his experience as a prisoner of war defined the rest of his life.
It is only by grace that I was ever born; my father could have and should have died many times over. In fact, his entire B-26 crew survived, which statistically did not happen to the vast majority of the airmen that were shot down. If they survived a crash, only a small percentage became prisoners, and the rest met their death by Nazis and even civilians.
As my father got older, he shared more of what really happened, but not all of it. I miss many things about my father, but one of them is talking to him when I was having trouble or stressed. Invariably, he would relate some event from his WWII experiences. Those talks would help me realize how much we can endure and come out the other side. His survival was not without physical and mental scars, but his faith in God and relentless optimism are ultimately what saved him.
I still have the Western Union telegram that he sent from a POW camp letting everyone know that he was alive. It reads simply; ALL WELL AND SAFE. LOVE TO ALL AT HOME. As we go through this pandemic, I will hang on the psalm of David that my father held most dear, Psalm 23.
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