*(Click photo to enlarge)
I never cease to be amazed when I receive responses to my various blog sites. I am doubly amazed and touched when comments come from out of country, like last night when the following email came from Egham, England. I'll let the message speak for itself before offering some background.
I stumbled across your blog accidentally this evening and wanted to drop you a quick email. I was especially moved by the photo of the young man Roy Dusten who was holding you as a baby next to the photo of the crosses at the entrance to the cemetery.
As a new parent myself, it saddens me to think of Roy being killed in action just a few years after the photo was taken. He seems to be quite at ease holding a small baby and may have made a good father himself at some time had he made it back from the war. Who knows?
I live in a town called Egham, in the UK and a short walk from our home is a memorial for Air Force personnel killed during World War II. We sometimes take the children there and it is a very peaceful place. Next time I am up there I will see if Roy's name is one of the many listed on the walls.
The photo that Martin refers to (shown above) is included in my "Father and Son Turn Back the Clock" web site. It shows a young Dresden neighbour, 18-year-old Roy Dusten, holding me as a baby just a few months old. The touching photo is superimposed on another photo of crosses commemorating war dead in the Dresden Cemetery. Not long after the photo was taken, Roy joined the Canadian Air Force and was shot down over Germany in World War II, losing his life. The gentle way Roy was holding me and the look on his face, said a lot about the kind of young man he was and the kind of father he could have been. I totally agree with Martin, obviously a sensitive young father himself.
It is disheartening to think of the countless other promising young lives similar to Roy's that have been cut short due to world conflict...But don't get me started.
After receiving the email I immediately did some Internet research on Egham and found it to be a historic small town in the Runnymede Borough of Surrey in the south-east of England. The memorial park that Martin refers to is a picturesque acreage known as Englefield Green, which commemorates all Commonwealth air force personnel killed in World War II and is administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. More than 20,000 names of airmen who lost their lives during flying operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe and who have no known graves are listed on the memorial walls referenced by Martin.
The Memorial itself overlooks the Thames River and is a beautiful white building (pictured below) in the art deco style, standing high above Runnymede.
I am indeed grateful to Martin for getting in touch with me and I look forward to hearing from him again in the future.
Aren't there some wonderful people in the world?