In June 2018 my husband and I took a trip to Germany so I could visit some World War II sites I was researching. We spent a day with Doug Mitchell, who drove us around all along parts of the West Wall, showed us the dragon’s teeth, German bunkers, and filled our heads with history. It was a kind of gloomy day which was rather apt for the war theme for the day.
Three years ago I walked in the footsteps of my cousin James Privoznik, KIA 11 January 1945 near Bras, Belgium. I took his final burial flag with me to Europe and flew it over the Luxembourg Cemetery where he sleeps. That trip and walking in his footsteps changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.
Since that time I have walked in the footsteps of other family members and soldiers I am researching for clients who were unable to go to Europe. Walking in these places, seeing the past merge with the present, and the landscape over which they fought and often died, cannot be captured in words and pictures alone. It must be experienced. To fully grasp what your soldier might have experienced, you have to go stand where he stood and see the views. Even then it is difficult to wrap your head around it all.
This video was created on top of the Wallendorf Hitler Bunker. Note: In the video I mention I’m in Luxembourg which is incorrect – I’m actually in Germany. We drove across borders so often in one area that it was hard to keep up with which country was I in – Luxembourg, Belgium, or Germany. Doug reminded me where we were as we left, after I shot the video.
Where have you traveled and walked in your soldier’s footsteps? How did that change your life?
© 2018 World War II Research and Writing Center