Joe Crilley

Back to Bernhards

We then travel to Bernhard's home in Opheusden for some coffee and snacks. Bernhard has many relics from the battle 60 years ago and shows them to us including a rifle that a neighbor discovered buried for nearly six decades. Bernhard was the one that identified Wim and Dir as the people that saved my Father's life, thus ending the 59-year old mystery of who this American soldier was. While we are visiting Bernhard and his wife,Albertha, one of their two daughters, either Ria or Wenda, I can't remember which one, visits her parents to give them a bouquet of flowers. October 5th is Bernhard and Albertha's wedding anniversary. The Wilber family had given Bernhard an American flag that was flown over our nation's capital in appreciation for what his family did for ours. Next we travel to Zon to meet another Dutch Airborne Friend, Jan Coolen and a college student, Jeroen C. Koppes who greatly helped me find the identity of my Father's rescuers. Zon is where the 101st landed by parachute and gliders on September 17,1944 that spearheaded the Allied drive around the Siegfried Line or the West Wall as Hitler called it. The aim was to thrust into Germany's industrial heartland and end the war before Christmas 1944.

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