The first picture, taken in 1994, shows Gerald's son , then 8, in the middle of the remnants of the Max Wilson crew in Tucson, AZ -- celebrating the 50th anniversary of the day they were shot down, April 24, 1944 [left to right: Frank (Cherry) Ceraso - radio operator; Dave Oates - left waist gunner; Felix (Kowalczyk) Cole - copilot; Jeremy Grove- Gerald Grove in the back; Ronald Grove - tail gunner; and Max Wilson - pilot.
The second shows the three Grove generations, all of which have now flown in a B-17, left to right: Jeremy, Ronald, Gerald in Kansas City in 2007 when Jeremy was 21 years of age, after he'd just landed in Don Brooks' "Liberty Belle".
In a letter he wrote to his grandpa after returning from a trip to England with Gerald, Jeremy wrote this poignant letter, which must have become one of Ronald Grove's greatest treasures:
Well, we’re back! It was the trip of a lifetime, Grandpa! Spending a week in Horham, seeing where you were stationed. It was so humbling to realize that some 60 years ago you were standing on the same ground as me at the same age getting ready to take off in a plane not knowing whether or not you would make it back.
I may never know all the feelings you had or realize all the sacrifices that you and your buddies made for people like me, for the future, but it really struck home when I stood on the ground where your plane crashed. You see, I feel like I know you better now. Your experiences there were made very real to me. Now the guy that I remember growing up with, the hero who had fought in the war, the best friend who would let me drive the tractor with him is my hero now, even more so than before; because I’ve been where you’ve been. I feel like I’ve leapt across time and distance and bonded with you in ways that words cannot describe.
Going to the 95th BG reunions have been good because I’ve been able to know more about your friends and understand what happened and heard amazing stories of heroics from all kinds of guys. Going to those places in Europe has done so much for me too, though.
I just thought I would let you know how thankful I am for you and all that you did, and the 95th too, for all that they do. Thank you for letting me be a part of your fantastic world. With all the love from your biggest fan,
Thanks for sharing this with me, Gerald and Jeremy. With sons and grandsons like you--the flame will always stay lit and we will never forget...