SO WE’LL GO NO MORE A ROVING

So, we’ll go no more a roving

So late into the night,

Though the heart be still as loving,

And the moon be still as bright.

 

For the sword outwears its sheath,

And the soul wears out the breast,

And the heart must pause to breathe,

And love itself have rest.

 

Though the night was made for loving,

And the day returns too soon,

Yet we’ll go no more a roving

By the light of the moon.

 

George Lord Byron

In Memoriam A.H.H.

I hold it true, what’er befall;

I feel it when I sorrow most;

Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

EVA ROYCE

Evie was my French teacher for my sophomore, junior and senior years at Catalina High School

She was the best teacher I ever had

And one of the two genuinely kind people I have ever known

I was regularly at her home during my college years

I still have the letters which she wrote me during our two year correspondence while I was in Washington for my first two years of law school

A photograph of her and me, taken when I was in my early 30s, is on my desk, to my right, as I type this

She and her roommate, Elizabeth Frantz, were mainstays of my youth and young manhood

I closed Evie’s eyes the morning she died

Happy Birthday Dear Evie

I love you and I miss you

 

JUNE 6, 1944

70 years ago, at the moment I write this blog, the battle to gain the beaches in Normandy still raged.

What valor.

What courage.

What patriotism.

What sacrifice.

God bless the spirits of all the men and women who served so that I might enjoy my freedom.

I am humbled.

It brings tears to my eyes.

Thanks dad, so very very much.

DAD AND JOHN

On the eve of Normandy I would like you both to know:

That I have a photograph of the two of you on my desk

in Paris

in uniform

from May of 1945;

that you two are true heroes.

Thank you for what you did for humanity.

 

 

NEW BERN, NORTH CAROLINA

A few hours after I was informed that my father died, early in the morning on December 23, 2013, I called John Engeman to let him know…….

My father was a tail gunner on a B-24 Liberator based in England during World War II.

On April 1, 1944, at age 19, his plane was shot down on a bombing run over Germany.

Five men of the ten man crew went down with the plane.

My father and four others parachuted out.

My father was shot while floating to earth.

He landed, bleeding, in the backyard of a German family’s home.

A few weeks later he was taken to Stalag XVIIB, where he spent over a year as a prisoner of war.

And there he met John Engeman, from Brooklyn, New York, the man who would become his best friend for life…..

A few weeks after my father died I wrote Mr. Engeman a letter.

I asked him if, after the cold weather had passed, I could come out to New Bern, North Carolina and sit down with him on a Saturday afternoon for a few hours to ask him questions about my dad and him and their experience.

This past Saturday, May 10th, I spent the afternoon and evening with Mr. Engeman and his lovely wife of 67 years, Rosemary.

And for two of those hours I sat at their kitchen table with Jack (which is what his friends call him, what he insisted that I call him) while I asked questions and he made their experience and World War II come alive for me.

He gave me three photographs.

One of my father and his platoon at Kessler Field, Mississippi in 1942.

One of my father and his bomber crew at Kessler in 1943 before they flew to England.

And the third, after the liberation, of my father and John Engeman, and a couple dozen soldiers and sailors, in Paris in May of 1945.

He gave me the letter which Lieutenant General James H. Doolittle wrote to my aunt on June 19, 1944.

It told her that my dad’s plane went down, that some crew members bailed out, that there was no definite information regarding him.

The last sentence of that letter reads:

“His mother may find some consolation in the knowledge that her son made a splendid contribution to the cause for which we are all fighting.”…..

My father and John C. Engeman are the very essence of heroes.

What they lived and endured for freedom is one with the ages.

It was an honor to spend those hours with you Jack Engeman.

My father was lucky to have a fine man such as you for his friend.

And I miss Blackie too.