I’m most grateful to the each of the readers who have not only bought my new novel, but reviewed it on Amazon.com. They are all MOST appreciated and each one is important to me.
Today I received a Five-Star review on Amazon from dear friend Al Stettner, an aerospace executive and docent at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Al and I were brought together by a powerful common experience twenty-two years ago, dedicating a monument to 25 men, most in their 20’s, who survived the second World War, only to die in a fiery crash on the side of Mt. Tom, in my hometown in July of 1946. They survived the war, only to die within site of Westover Air Base. Al’s uncle, Alfred Warm, was among those lost. For more details see: Mt. Tom B-17 Memorial
I was one of a group of local people who felt such sacrifice needed a remembrance and, on the 50th anniversary of the tragedy, we dedicated a hiker’s overlook at the crash site, high on the side of the mountain, accessible only by a TV station transmitter service road. Four hundred people attended that dedication ceremony. Family and friends return there every July, to remember those lost and share the company of an extended family, some who lost, some who remember, all who cherish the sacrifice of those in service to our nation.
In this photo of a later visit, Al is in the front of the group in dark pants, light shirt and white sneakers. I am standing directly behind him with my wife Norma, both of us in blue shirts, looking up at the American flag which flies there.
That first weekend we met many family members of those lost, including two mothers. We also met Al’s mother, Dorothy, who lost her brother on this site. For Dorothy, driving past Holyoke, Massachusetts on their way south from their then home in New Hampshire, was a wrenching experience that brought back the pain of loss. From then until her death, the site became a place of peace and tribute to her. Daughter Ellen was married here. Young family members pop up as new attendees. The group has grown with the passing of time.
To find Al’s review today was a “God wink” to me. One of those special times when God uses one of us to touch the heart of someone else in a wholly unexpected way. It’s what life is really about.