When I begin to complain about a cold wet January day, in Connecticut in 2015, I stop and think about what Richard and his fellow soldiers must have been going through on that train ride in Europe in 1945. It makes me feel so grateful for the comforts and good things I have in life. Most of all I am grateful for my father Richard and my mother Mary, because they made it all possible for me. Growing up I didn’t realize the sacrifices they made for their family always wanting to make a better life for their children, better than what they had, especially as they were growing up in the Great Depression. On January 13th, Richard writes a continuation of the train ride they are taking into Belgium. They have been aboard this train, 39 soldiers crammed into a freight car, since the 10th. They were told they would be traveling for 48 hours this way but it seems this time has been extended. All he can think about is survival aboard this contraption. A short stop and a bit of French hospitality, give him and his friend John, some relief from the train ride. All pain and suffering, is relative.
January 13-14, 1945
Your mind and senses are now overwhelmed by only one concern – staying alive. To do so, you must stay warm. We stop at one French city, the name of which I do not recall for about half an hour. Johnny Whalen and I go off looking for a warm place – store or restaurant. We meet a Frenchman on the street and he takes us up to his apartment, where we have some bread and a glass of wine. This is the only moment of brightness we have had up to now. We repay our debt with cigarettes.
10:30 We detrain at a little village northwest of Liege.