The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

Web posted Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Reflections of a German War Bride

By Ann Hughes
Quincy, ILL.

I'm a German war bride. My husband Harold is a native of Shelby County, Illinios and a veteran of World War II. On Veterans' Day, we honor all those who once wore a military uniform. Many of them fought in far away places; too many did not return. They laid down their lives for God and Country at the "Altar of Sacrifice.''

As one walks through our local Veterans' Home on a nice warm summer day, we see many veterans sit outside their buildings. Some are in wheel chairs. They welcome it if we stop to visit them for a while. Veterans of all wars deserve our respect and attention. They fought for our freedom. How dark our world would be without it!

I, myself, see freedom as a brightly lit candle, flickering in the soft winds. Whenever I watch the rustling leaves, carried away in the cool evening breeze, I always wish the winds would carry with it this freedom to all corners of this earth, so all of God's children could take part of it!

Let's take time to listen to what some of our veterans might have to say: "yes, I'm old and forgetful now, ill quite often, and my feet don't carry me anymore. When I'm alone, many of my buddies, who didn't return, come to mind. Once in awhile, when a storm comes up and I hear the rolling thunder, I look up toward the heavens, wondering if it might be my buddies up there 'bowling with the angels.' I have to admit I am lonely quite often and then I get 'cross' at times. I gripe about various things, but we all do that now and then, don't we? I get the "blues'' sometimes, because I don't feel well and I miss my wife, Mary - my sweet Mary. She passed away a few years back. "I might catch up with her before too long.'' Whenever I walk down the same path that Mary took, I'm sure I hear her "call my name!''

During World War II, I wrote many letters to my Mary from all the far away places I had been, including a stopover in London, where I saw the Queen.

Now, I'm here at the Illinois Veterans Home with quite a few other veterans from the Korean War and Vietnam, and I guess we all have quite a story to tell. Younger people should be more interested in our legacy, so they realize that heroism is what it takes to preserve our freedom! We veterans from all those wars don't ask to be praised; we just want to be respected. If you visit us once in a while, it makes us feel much better. We veterans are proud of you if you would salute our flag whenever it passes by. Our American flag covers our casket whenever we pass on; that alone should tell you something! They take pretty good care of you here at the Vets' Home, especially the nurses, although at times they can get "pretty bossy.'' Just the other day, I handed the nurse a pair of socks to help me put them on. She said, "No, Joe, one sock is tan, the other is blue!'' Who cares? "My flirting days are over.''

It is getting late now. I want to thank you for stopping by, taking the time to chat with me for a while. "Good bye now and God bless you!''

I wheel myself back to my room and a nurse helps me to get ready for bed. I ask her "What did you say awhile back is coming up?'' "Veterans' Day is coming up and it'll be your day, Joe! You're one of those who will be so honored. I drop off to sleep. I dream of Mary - my sweet Mary. I wish she could be with me on Veterans' Day!

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