May 18, 2015

Man Learns About Dad’s Past Via Nazi Banner

This is a heavy news story.

Imagine getting a big Nazi banner in the mail and then realizing it has something to do with your Dad. (Actually, if it didn’t have anything to do with your Dad, that would be even more messed up.)

From Wauwatosa Now:

Wauwatosa — Robert Griffin was overcome with a wave of memories as he read a letter from a distant stranger — a letter that, at least in part, filled in some of the blanks of his father’s wartime experiences.

The letter was sent by Gigi Hickey, who uncovered a 12-foot-long, crumpled Nazi banner emblazoned with a black swastika — and complete with 84 American soldiers’ signatures — while cleaning out her deceased mother’s North Dakota home about two years ago. The banner was stuffed inside a howitzer canister and hidden in a trunk, a painful piece of history that Hickey thinks her mother, Georgia Henrichsen, wanted to stow away and forget.

Other than the specifics, this is the main bit:

Robert Griffin was overcome with a wave of memories as he read a letter from a distant stranger — a letter that, at least in part, filled in some of the blanks of his father’s wartime experiences.

I’m in the process of piecing together some of my own father’s past. There’s a lot I don’t know, and a lot that I’ve accepted I will never know. For me, this article is somewhat validating, since it shows that I’m far from the only son who wants to find out about his Dad. I can’t say that I’m expecting any artifact as dramatic and jarring as the one this man received. That said, it sounds like it was illuminating, which is a good thing.

Source: Through Nazi banner, Wauwatosa man learns of father’s experiences at war

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