Written by Fred Schmidt
While doing business in the Post Office one day I noticed a rack holding PASSPORT application forms. Thinking that this was the beginning, or a first step to a long held dream of visiting a foreign country I took the envelope containing the forms. They were free.
You see my father was a member of the German Wehrmacht, the name for German Armed Forces, stationed in the Cherbourg area of France during the last year of the Second World War The invasion of D day came and shortly after the advancing American G.I.s overran the German positions and my father was taken prisoner, but not before being wounded with shrapnel in his left leg.
Compounds for German P.O.W. were none existent in France at that time so he, along with hundreds of other soldiers, was loaded onto a hospital ship to begin the long journey, via England, to the far off State of Texas, U.S.A. There in the northern part of that State, near the town of Paris, a prisoner of war camp awaited him plus the arrival of thousands of German soldiers, now Prisoners Of War.
The heavy black ink of censorship obliterated a good part of the postcards informing us of the state of his health and his approximate whereabouts. Now 61 years later I have a longing in my heart to go and see with my own eyes what my father saw as he stood on the plains of Texas and worried about his family in his devastated homeland of Germany. Yes there would be a vast difference between our two visits. I would be there willingly as a free person. He was there by compulsion at the point of a gun, a prisoner. Thus my interest in PASSPORTS.
Little did I realize that a few days later my thoughts would again turn to the importance of possessing a valid PASSPORTS. It came about in a most unexpected way.
Read more: Passport , Passport, Passport . . . Anyone?