The Foreign Service Journal - October 2017

72 OCTOBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL operation of WorldWar II. The night before he saw action, he received a letter frommy grandmother, who had emigrated from Germany in 1905. “Son,” she wrote, “I know you are going into battle soon. Please remember that the young man you are fighting has a mother who loves and prays for him as I love and pray for you, and be merciful.” Dad tossed the letter aside, angry at what she’d written. He knew hesitation could cost his life and those of his fellow soldiers. The operation involved towing gliders withmen and jeeps fromFrance to Germany in a bumpy flight. On landing, Dad was briefly knocked unconscious when bounced out of the glider under fire. When he recovered and regrouped with his fellow soldiers, their urgent mission was to find the German snipers hiding in nearby farmhouses. Bringing up the rear as they passed a farmhouse, my father heard noises com- ing from a potato cellar. Convinced that German soldiers were hiding there, he lifted the wooden cellar door cautiously and was about to throw in a grenade when he remembered his mother’s plea: “Be merciful!” So instead he shouted down in Ger- man for the soldiers to surrender. Silence. His second shout brought out an elderly grandmother, and eventually 14 people— nine women and five children—stood before him. He said later, “I shudder at the thought of what I might have done, and the burden it would have placed onmy life, had I not receivedmy blessedmother’s letter.” A Dying Wish Years later, as Dad was dying, we talked about things he wished he had done during his lifetime. He wanted me to find the soldiers from the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards who had Andrea Kormann Lowe at the commemorative plaque dedication in Hamminkeln, Germany, on March 24, 2017. COURTESYOFANDREAKORMANNLOWE