Friday, November 11, 2011

A Story of Sacrifice..Happy Veterans Day

This is dedicated to my Pee Paw. A short little Norwegian man, where I am sure I got my sense of humor, who always used to say, "whenever you're in Texas look me up (we lived in Tennessee)" or grunted when you said "I love you" knowing that was his way of saying it back. I also want to say to my family, this is story for our memories to tell our children and for my uncle, my brother, my dad and step dad who served our country, I love you and thank you so much.

On May 19, 1944 was a day that changed my great grandparents lives, I am sure, forever. As the story has been told and some parts we are still researching, the plane was on a mission in Berlin. My great uncle, Willard Christensen was a Sargent in the Army Air Corps along with his brother Tony who were stationed in England. My uncle was a tail gunner on the B-17 bomber plane, the Donna Mae II and had not flown many missions on that plane. That day as fog set in, the plane above dropped a fateful bomb that hit my great uncle's plane bending the tail wing completely straight down. The plane did not make it back safely and all perished. To this day, we only know that he is buried in a mass grave because the plane of course burned upon crashing.

My great Uncle Willard was not suppose to fly on that mission that day. My great Uncle Tony's wife was pregnant at the time and my great Uncle Willard took his place so my great Uncle Tony could go be with his wife. The love of two brothers was such that one gave his life, so the other could help bring a new life into the world.

This is an actual photo. On the left is the actual bomb that hit the tail wing. The arrow points to wear my great Uncle Willard was located. Those two stack that look like posts were gun racks he operated. This was published in Life magazine back during the war and incorrectly reported the plane made it back safely, but that was not the case.

This is an actual letter that my family has received through others written by the pilot above that dropped that fateful bomb.

How grateful we are for those people that served our country and continue to serve our country. My grandfather MJ who was a Marine Corp medic, great Uncle Ole (US Army),  great Uncle Tony (US Army) and great Uncle Willard Christensen (US Army) all served in WWII.

Willard before he went overseas gave my grandfather his watch and said "you keep this, I'll get it when I get back." He never returned.

Your first born granddaughter loves and misses you Pee Paw. Thank you to you and all of our family for the sacrifice.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Dusty, great story Pee Paw would be proud! Willards' name in engraved in The Wall Of The Missing. It's located in Margraten in the Netherlands. What's great is that the people of Margraten have adopted the graves and names for over 65 years. They lay flowers and visit the graves to show their gratitude. This link will show you the engraving and some info about Willard.