Newsletter Issue: March/April 2004 - page 3 of 7

 

 

Bridges of Love

A Love Story Spanning Generations
by Dennis (Bear) Hayman

 

 

       
       
  My name is Dennis E. Hayman. I am a relative of William M. Miller, a WWII P-47 pilot with the 412th Fighter Squadron, 373rd Fighter Group, 9th AAF. 1Lt. Miller was killed in action on Christmas Day 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. I was very young at the time, yet so close to him that I still feel a bond with him. His memory has colored my entire life - even unto this day. Just after the turn of the century, following a long search for information about my uncle, I was successful in locating members of his squadron. They have quite a bond with each other that has also lasted these many years. They still hold annual reunions and were gracious enough to invite my wife and I to join them and to become members of their group. 
   

 

     
  To me this was a great honor. I've learned a lot about them in the course of my search. I was not only impressed with their combat record, which was very outstanding, but especially with their values today. To spend time with them and their families each year is a blessing for us. They personify the positive spirit that overcame so much trauma and turned it into a lasting personal peace. This spirit I also feel within the people of Belgium who have helped me in my search for information about my uncle and his comrades. It is still there and still powerful. What is it that has sustained this loving feeling over all this time? I think this connection is worth nurturing and exploring today when we are once again faced with overcoming our fears of the world situation.  
  There was a time, near Christmas in 1944, when some young American pilots and some even younger Belgian children came together in ways that seem to have touched their lives forever. I can relate to that very well, since I was about the same age as the children of Dongelberg, when my uncle was hugging them close and touching their lives as he had touched mine.  
     

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