Heading Home, Finally

I can’t even begin to imagine what must have been going through my dad’s mind at the end of June, 1945. While I’m still working to uncover details about when and from where my father, Bernard McKenzie, was finally released from the German POW camp, it’s safe to assume that he and thousands of other American heroes had been working their way toward the French coast for about two months. I’m sure there was a European continent-wide exhale on VE Day–May 8, 1945–but to the American troops it was just the beginning of a very long journey home. Compared to the days prior to Germany’s unconditional surrender, this march across the continent was met by cheering locals just returning home and children who wanted to catch a glimpse of their rescue heroes, who often also had fistfuls of candy for them. Today you could walk from Germany, through Luxembourg, into Belgium, and end in Le Havre without much difficulty–especially when compared to the Army issue boots and heavy gear the infantrymen carried–but the journey would cover over 400 miles and take more than 150 hours.

A view of the Star Board side of our ship, the Marine Dragon. Taken on the high seas. Enroute to U.S.A.

Bernard McKenzie, June 30, 1945


Nothing but water. The Atlantic Ocean. Taken on the high seas.

Bernard McKenzie, June 30, 1945


Beau Cou water. The Atlantic. Enroute to the U.S.A.

Bernard McKenzie, June 30, 1945

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