Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Remembering a Dead Friend Sixty Plus Years Later

The formal entrance gates to the American Cemetery in Luxembourg

       In honor of Memorial Day, Chuck asked that I tell you his favorite story that says so much about why we should take a moment on Memorial Day to remember.
Several years ago, the rascal cat and I were traveling in Luxembourg when we met this elderly gentleman and his wife.  He’d fought in World War II and had decided, now --before it was too late because he was in his eighties and life was slipping by fast -- to pay tribute to a fellow soldier who’d fought beside him in the Battle of the Bulge.  This soldier, who was his driver, hadn’t been as lucky as he was and hadn’t made it back alive. He was buried in the American cemetery in Luxembourg, which was established in 1944 as a final resting place for Americans killed in action.  The families of soldiers have a choice.  Their loved ones can be shipped home or they can be buried in the closest American cemetery located in neutral territory.   

When we arrived at the cemetery, and when you step foot in any of the American cemeteries on foreign soil, you gasp.  They are always beautifully kept up, massive in scope.  The rows and rows of crosses made of Italian marble take your breath away.  The knowledge that so many brave and courageous men and women fought and gave their lives to preserve our way of life hit you  hard when you are far away from your home.  These men and women left their home, never to return.  General Patton is buried here.

View of the rows of crosses--the stars represent the Jewish soldiers.

General George S. Patton made a special request to be buried at the American Cemetery with the soldiers he fought with when he died, and his wife honored his request.

The guide who showed us around the cemetery was a man who remembered the day the Americans freed Luxembourg from the German occupation.  He stood on the side of the road as the American soldiers marched into his town. He’ll never forget that day, and even though he was a boy then, he still felt a sense of gratitude toward the United States of America.
Rene, our guide, at the cemetery

Now in his seventies, he volunteers at the cemetery.  He enjoys saying thank you to the Americans who come to visit the cemetery.  

As to the elderly gentleman, he found his friend, William C. McGee, a Medal of Honor recipient, who died on March 19, 1945.  He stood near his gravesite and saluted.  It was a wonderful tribute to his friend.  

The American soldier who returned sixty years later to pay tribute to his friend

The gravesite of William McGee, Medal of Honor recipient

Chuck and I were amazed that he remembered him so many years later. The bonds that grow between those that fight for freedom. 


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