November 08, 2009

Bringing WWII to Life

In our Around the World Travels we've landed in Japan for a few weeks.  And one of the things I've introduced is World War II.  Jacob has really enjoyed it!  I supposed there's not much to not enjoy for a boy... airplanes, weaponry, battles, etc.  It's been fun to see him jump in with both feet!

My grandpa on my mom's side fought in WWII, but we weren't ever allowed to talk about it with or around him, so I honestly have no idea what part he played. (He also died when I was 18.)  I do remember hearing that he had to pretend to be dead as the opposing soldiers came around shooting anyone still breathing among the carnage on a battlefield.

But Candace's grandpa also fought and is alive and well, so we went for a field trip to hear all about it (on a 7 year old's level).

Some photos of the young soldier and his squadron.

 Mr. Rosser looked in his old records and told us what his mission was on November 6, 1944!

 He flew all of these planes.  Mr. Rosser told Jacob when he asked what his favorite plane was to fly, "If you want to show off a little, fly this one. [bottom, middle]  But if you want to come home at night, fly this one [bottom right]."

These were the names of the 4 men (out of 20 in their initial group) who survived.  One of them bought a piece of wood cut from the same log for all of them to have to remember.

 Here they are at a reunion some years ago.

 Mr. Rosser's pilot's license.


 His flight log book... this was fun to read! He wrote how he felt after flying certain aircraft for the first time, flying his first independent mission, practicing landings, etc.

This photograph of his beautiful bride traveled with him on 68 missions.

This flag was attached to the back of a pilot's flight suit.  Each grouping is the same paragraph translated into many languages.

Here is the text in English.  A bit sobering, I thought.

Mr. R did a great job and we really appreciate him sharing with us!  Jacob said he'd like to talk to him some more.  I'd love to hear more too, I enjoyed it.

And what grandpa doesn't like finishing up with a few magic tricks for the kids??

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