Boots Losing Her Buddy In The Hedgerows Of Normandy
U.S. Army Pvt. Bernard Borer's gravesite in Normandy, France is more than ... a solemn reminder of our beloved USA ... greatest generation's fallen World War II heroes!
He had just turned 19 three weeks earlier in England ... which allowed him to re-join his older Army buddies who survived the storming of the Normandy beaches and other battles in France since D-Day on June 6, 1944.
And while Pvt. Bernard Borer was a long way from his home and family in Toledo, Ohio ... he had a special connection to one family member there ... his beautiful, caring twin sister, Bernadine ... and my eventual mother!
Then came ... the patrol ... into Normandy's hedgerows by Pvt. Borer's squad on July 13, 1944 ... where he and his fellow soldiers walked into a machine gun nest hidden among the densely thick wooded area ... with the ambush killing all of them!
Bernard Borer's twin sister was sleeping deeply back in Ohio during his squad's hedge row patrol ... but woke up with dread and heart pounding ... knowing something terrible had happened to her twin brother.
I have known about this story since my childhood ... but now imagine this horrific death scene with visuals from seeing the gripping movie, Saving Private Ryan.
Needless to say, Memorial Day has a very special meaning to me (my siblings too) ... knowing the very sad, proud memory it triggered for our mother, who was a Gold Star family member and extended it to her children ... who never met their Uncle Bernard!
Thoughts of my Uncle Bernard being killed in action (KIA) on July 13, 1944 and knowing my mother's life-time grief of his tragic loss ... were very present when writing my poems... Honoring The Fallen, Don't Weep For Me, and Tears For Your Fallen.
My wife and I truly understand the unending worry of a loved one in combat too ... when our youngest son was in Iraq with his fellow Marines during its 2003 invasion ... Only finding after his return home of how close he came to be among the fallen ones.
It actually took about a year for my decorated Marine son to open up about his combat experiences.
Nor have I ever asked him again about his combat time ... once he shared his near death experience by a whisper ... and being among the fallen ones like his great Uncle Bernard.
So, we know firsthand ... the deep heartache of ... combat worry ... my mother and the rest her family felt 24/7 about her twin ... nicknamed ... "Buddy" ... to her ... "Boots" ... with fully understanding of the emotions felt associated with the loss of a fallen loved one ... knowing it was especially so for my mom being his twin sisiter.
And yes ... they were lovingly called ... Buddy and Boots ... since they were little ones born in 1925!
Now, both enjoying each other again for all eternity!
Side Note... My grandparents idea for the twins' endearing nicknames came from the "Boots and Her Buddies" comic strip by Edgar Martin that ran from 1924 to 1968 with some newspapers using just ... Boots ... as the title. I wouldn't be surprised that my mother reminded Buddy of the single word title when it suited her ... Just kidding mom!