As I researched for my novel, I learned so much about the lives of men and women who participated in WW2. It struck me how many miles some of them traveled during their tour of duty, and how long some of them were gone from their families. The inspiration for my novel’s hero, the man in the back row on the far left, left the mid-west USA and took the long route to England by way of North Africa, then made several stops along the way North until they finally reached England. Several times his crew stepped on soil they never dreamed they would visit.
All of the men in this picture had a different journey to travel while away from home. Some went home earlier than others, and some stayed overseas until the war ended, away from loved ones for up to 4 years. Think of all they experienced. Death, destruction, loneliness, fear and dread were part of their daily lives. And when they finally got home, most of them picked up and went on with the lives they had left. No complaints, no regrets, only pride in the job they had done, and glad to be home.
Deep and lasting friendships were made even knowing that some would be broken by death at any moment. They gave their lives for each other – these men had heart. And the women waiting at home? They had journeys of their own to make. I can’t imagine the strength of character all of these wartime individuals gained.
When I read the accounts, saw the pictures and crafted the ending of my novel, I had to ask myself if any of them really had happy endings. I hope you get to read my novel someday to see what happens to this couple in the picture above, the heroine and hero in my story. No matter how it turns out, we have to appreciate all the journeys that took place in a world at war. I can’t help but wonder how many stories were left untold as that generation disappears from our lives.
Have you known someone who lived through this period of our history? I hope you sit down with them and find out their story. We need to pass them on to the next generation.
Blessings for your journey home!