As you can see, I posted this in 2009--read to the end for the updated twist.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Always In Our Hearts
Earlier this year, I had a very unique Google experience. My father, a WWII pilot, asked me to see if I could confirm the precise date on which his best friend had been killed during the war. Armed with just a name, I clicked on a link that took me to a page containing photographs of a cemetery. Specifically, a young man stood next to a cross. Knowing Google, I wasn’t sure of the significance−if any. There wasn’t a visible name on the cross and, at best, I figured a random American had taken the picture to honor the nameless dead.
I continued my search, but I kept going back to that page...until, suddenly, my mouse hovered in just the right place and I saw that the picture had a title−Robert B. Pfusch by Chris Yunker.
Still a random American?
Somehow I contacted Mr. Yunker (via his flickr account, I think) and told him why I was writing. Sure enough, he replied immediately with the news that Robert B. Pfusch was his grandfather and that he would forward my email to his mother.
I was rather blown away since I’d assumed Mr. Pfusch had died without having children.
Soon, I had an email from Bobbie, the daughter who was born six months after her father was killed overseas. She asked if my father had known her dad well.
In reply, I wrote her a lengthy letter of what I knew, including the fact they’d been fraternity brothers back in North Dakota. When she read my response, she realized that my dad was the man in her parents’ wedding photograph−their best man. She said she cried throughout my letter.
What followed was a back-and-forth correspondence between two daughters of WWII vets−one who never knew her father and one who was exceedingly grateful to have had so many years with hers.
On this day that we honor our veterans, I’d like to pay special tribute to Robert B. Pfusch and the sacrifice he made so many years ago.
He is not forgotten.
Edited to Add:
Four months after I wrote and posted the above tribute to Bob Pfusch, I found myself having open heart surgery--to be specific, I had my aortic valve replaced. During my research prior to surgery, I got involved with a forum on a valve replacement website and, in particular, traded emails with a helpful young woman named Luana.
After surgery, I wasn't so quick to get back on the forum to report my success and good health, and Luana worried.
When I finally posted that all was well, she sent me the most amazing email.
Randy, she wrote, when you didn't post a progress report, I sent a prayer request to an on-line group I'm involved with. One of the participants wrote back asking if, by chance, this Randy's last name happened to be Bruskrud. Her name is Bobbie.
Yes, the paths of two veterans' daughters crossed again. This time, as one prayed for the other.
Small world, indeed.