In Loving Memory of my brother,
Airman Roger J. Johann
July 24, 1935-May, 4, 1955
Life is a whisper quick–
as he balanced the cigarette on his lip
I was just three, sitting on his knee
the kitchen chair, him and me
then he passed the cigarette my way
naïve I was what can I say
when a puff of smoke I did inhale
and I felt ever so pale
big brothers have their ways
and we did bond deeply in that stay.
It was Christmas Eve and I was four
I was waiting for him who I adored
Snuggled in his bed asleep
He picked me up and down the stairs we did creep
There underneath the lit Christmas tree
Colored chalk and blackboard waiting for me!
Off to England and Iceland next
There he was the Air Force guest
Then the day became the night
His life was lost on that flight
Only nineteen, it was not fair
So young and so much to give for freedom’s dare
The North Atlantic took him to the Lord
And his eight friends who were aboard
Now the years have come and gone
Still I remember his gentle song
My Mom sat with me
Beneath the window breeze
Pointing to the sky
To the military formation for me to fly
There were the planes one by one
Except for yours, they flew their song
How deep her sorrow for you she wept
In her heart, the love she kept
How many young people have given their life
For freedom, that day, became your wife
Nineteen 😦 ?
Yes, Yoshiko, Roger was 19…he was the oldest of the eleven of us. He and the rest of the young Air Force crew were on some kind of reconnaissance mission, whatever that means, and the fuselage blew up midair, somewhere over the North Atlantic Ocean. All were lost in that explosion. I was five years old. There was a Catholic funeral for him at home–just a box draped in black — because of course there was no body…I recall everyone dressed in black –in those days it was the tradition. Inside the Church was a pulpit–it was never used during my lifetime—at that age, I thought Roger must be up in that pulpit hiding. For years, I imagined him there and would think he was watching over us all.
Sad case 😦
God bless him for his service and sacrifice
Thank you, Paul, for your prayer and also for your prayers for me—I am climbing out! I feel like we have an extended family here on WordPress. It brings me a lot of comfort.
Gentle and moving memories, Jane. May he remain forever fresh in your heart, dear friend 🙂
how sweet are your words…thank you, friend!
How Beautiful, Jane.Brothers are are Best Friends.I truly Love Mine. Joey came home from Vietnam hurt, but he is still here physically. They never come home the same.
Hugs n Love
Thank you, Nancy. The war experience is never good for anyone. “There was never a good war, or a bad peace.” – Benjamin Franklin
Condolence to you and your family
thank you, Hikari Yori….59 years ago…still like yesterday…we always miss those we love
Jane, just call me Yori will do 🙂 even I miss whom I love
This is so heartfelt and beautiful. I feel that the death that we see while we are young somehow has more effect on us because its presence seems dull but the memories are very powerful. May his soul be in peace.
Thank you so much for finding my blog so that I could find yours. I love it. ❤
Thank you for your compassionate thoughts! Yes, it was a poignant time for me. In those days, at least where I lived in that tiny village of two streets (still the same today), people did not express their emotions…and there was no grief counseling. It was a very difficult time for my parents. My Mother was told the news in a very harsh manner. It had been broadcast on the radio and many knew before my Mom, as we did not listen to the radio in our home. I do not even think we had one until I was a teenager. Then a tough, local policeman came up the backstairs of my parent’s home and yelled for my Mom saying, “Hey, Mrs. Johann, your kid was killed!” Horrific!
I am glad I came upon your blog and enjoy reading your thoughts!
Oh dear, I can’t even imagine the pain. It must have been so difficult to cope.
I had a similar experience when my grandfather passed away, he had Parkinson’s disease which consumed him slowly and we could do nothing about it. A death on account of helplessness is the worst. And one morning the security guard of the apartment came up and said that he was no more or so ‘he heard someone say’. When I went there and saw the dead body, I couldn’t even cry because he looked so peaceful, the way he never was when alive.
I am so sorry…it is never easy to lose those we love…it is always a painful loss…and I think our society is so ill-equipped with expressing empathy…we seem to becoming harder, as I read some of the resentment towards the children running to our borders for help…
I am sure your grandfather is now living in peace and joy!
I am so sad for your loss, still fresh after all these years. I understand completely. I lost my brother and my sister. Bereft.
I am sorry for you, too, Brenda. I guess that is how love is…we never stop loving even after they are gone…I had eleven brothers and sisters…four have now died. It is difficult, but we have to go on and be and do our best. My Mom had a great deal of strength and I do not come close to hers. She lost both of her firstborn two sons too soon…Roger at 19 and Robert at 6…that had to have been so hard! Yet, she continued to care for the rest of us in joy. That is amazing to me!
I imagine you have more of her strength than you know. It takes others to see it, my friend. Ourselves, we are just doing what we need to do. Hugs, Brenda