Today, John sent me a letter and I would like to share part of it with you. I could not read it to my husband without crying.
When we started to correspond with each other I told you that my present
research was triggered by the fact that one of the 34 heavy bombers of the 8th
USAAF that were lost on Sunday. November 26, 1944, the B-17 "Little Guy" of the
381st Bomb Group, crashed behind our house in Nazi-occupied Holland. This crash
made a deep impression on me.
About two years ago I discovered that Jelle Rietsma, a retired general of the Royal Dutch Army was also interested in this crash as he lives quite near to the crash site. I told him that a monument for Pilot Kyle Smith in the outdoor swimming pool complex of Apeldoorn would be appropriate; also because each and every year thousands of mostly young people go there for a swim, a flirt and a bite. For them to realize when seeing this monument that they have to thank their present freedom to people like Kyle Smith.
Last year, November 26, 2007, [my wife] and I went to Apeldoorn to assist
in the unveiling of this monument. The band of the Royal Dutch Air Force played
the last post, members of the Dutch Army hoisted the flags of the Unites States
and the Netherlands and the highest class of the nearby primary school (my
primary school!) who had adopted the monument, sang the American anthem. I was
very moved, because these kids had the same age as I had then in 1944. A
representative of the American Embassy in The Hague (the Ambassador himself was on a visit abroad) spoke a few words and so did the Mayor of Apeldoorn.
The actual unveiling was done by two family members of the pilot and a plane of the
Dutch Air Force made an overfly. I was very proud that due to my research this
ceremony could take place.