Roughly fifteen years ago I found a nondescript briefcase in the basement of my mom’s house with a sticker just under the handle that read, “My War.”
Inside the briefcase was an amazingly well-preserved archive of letters, military paperwork, newspaper clipping, sketches and photos from my grandfather’s service in World War II. At the time, I spent months pouring over the collection, and carefully scanned in every page.
My grandfather, Al Atkins, was shot down over Germany in November of 1944. He was able to parachute to safety before being taken as a prisoner of war. The collection of his military papers includes the original Western Union telegrams his wife received when his plane was shot down and when he was confirmed as a prisoner of war. Those two are dated three months apart.
Imagine what his family must have felt during those three months. The immense weight of the unknown. Continue reading