Today is Veteran’s Day, and every year on this day, I think of my dad—a very proud veteran of the Second World War.
Going to war is never easy, but in his case, he served knowing that the rest of his family was trapped on the other side of the world, and their return home rested on his shoulders.
When he got on that train in Moscow in 1941, he was a twenty-one year old young man. Like so many soldiers, he was forced to grow up too quickly.
Unlike others fighting the war, Dad did not have a family sending him letters of comfort or a girlfriend writing love letters to help him survive another day.
For the first few months after he was drafted, he knew only that the town where he had been living with his parents and siblings when he left had been bombed. Had they even survived?
He began writing letters to the State Department, Red Cross, and several embassies, trying to get them home. Trying to find a safe route home was one problem, and trying to secure the funds to cover their travel expenses was another, particularly as a soldier on a limited salary.
My father never gave up the cause. The book I wrote is the story of why the family went to Russia in the first place, and the extraordinary efforts undertaken to get the surviving members of the family back in New Jersey.