DONALD I. JAKEWAY
This letter, and accompanying photo, was written by Don
Jakeway (Co H) and addressed to Don Lassen, editor of the STATIC LINE.
It was published in the STATIC LINE but the edition date, perhaps late
1985, is unknown.
508ers Return To
Maybe once in a lifetime a man's dream does come true. This has
happened for me. On September 13th, 1985 six of us former Sergeants of H
Co 508 PIR made a very memorable trip to Holland, Normandy, and to
Nottingham, England; RALPH BUSSON, Ohio, TOMMY HORNE, Louisiana; ART
RIEDEL, Kansas; JOHN BLUM, Ohio; CHET STEPHENS, Washington, and DON
JAKEWAY, Ohio. We have returned from this experience drained
emotionally. For 16 days we were acting as young cocky Paratroopers,
living in the past for a few brief moments in time.
This was our first visit back to the old battle sites, villages and
campgrounds in 41 years. We were all veterans of the jumps in Normandy
and Holland and the battles in the Ardennes and Germany. We are still
overwhelmed by the fantastic reception we received everywhere we went.
We had planned our trip for over a year and never in our wildest dreams
did we expect the kindness, respect and love we received from those
awaiting us. This love for the American Airborne by the people of Beek,
Chef du Pont, Ste Mere Eglise and Nottingham is real and we six had the
opportunity to share in that love.
Words cannot express our thanks fully to DAVE PIKE of Nottingham
for working so hard to make our trip a success. Without his unselfish
efforts our trip would have been much less memorable. The American
Airborne could never have a more faithful friend. DAVE acted as our
driver throughout the trip. He also was our official photographer. Using
his most famous quotes, "Not to worry," "No problems," and "Mount up
Boys," he guided us on the most fantastic trip of our lives. He truly is
the Airborne Ambassador in England. We shall never forget
man did for us.
We also owe much to the people of Beek, who put us up in their
homes. To MARGOT VAN BOLDRIK, Author of two Books, to PHILLIP VAN
ELTEREN and his wonderful wife, ELIZABETH, the Airborne Committee:
members who escorted us. to the museums, drop zones, battle sites and
provided receptions, dinners, memorials, church services, etc., we will
never be able to repay their kindness. To MAE LOU THOMAS and PIERRE, to
HENRI RENAUD and so many others in Normandy who welcomed us into their
homes, their villages and countryside; they will live in our memory
forever. We visited the gravesites of old comrades, and know but for the
Grace of God we could be sleeping there with them.
I can say these old Paratroopers did honor to the 508 and I am very
proud that I could share this experience with them. We made many new
friends on this trip and renewed old friendships as well. Now the
curiosity and excitement is over. We have revisited the old battlefields
of 41 years ago, and once more separated and each returned to our home.
Who knows if and when we may ever be together again. If ever I would be
needed to once again fight for my country, I would want men such as
these by my side. We have built a library of memories from this trip and
become even richer, not in wealth, but in friends. It is true, a
Paratrooper is a special breed of Man.
I hope you can include this in one of the upcoming issues of STATIC
LINE, DON. It was
you and your paper who got
me interested in the 508 and the Airborne again. Thank you, my Friend.
DON JAKEWAY (508)