After serving in World War II, a West Hartford veteran has traveled all over the United States to visit families of his crew mates killed on D-Day, 70 years ago.
This was a way to bring them closure and tell them what really happened.
On D-Day, in 1944, when a B-24 bomber went down returning from France with nine crew members inside, all of whom were Bob Gross's closest friends.
“We lived together and we flew together,” Gross said.
The now 94-year-old was supposed to be in that plane that went down but was told navigators were not needed.
For the past 15 years, the World War II veteran made it his mission to visit the families of his beloved crew members; it was a promise he made.
“It's difficult to tell someone how their father or uncle were killed so I felt I had to go out there and tell them in person, that's why I traveled to Texas, to Colorado to Florida,” Gross said.
His final stop was in Minnesota last summer where he visited the grave of one of the men, even after all those years it was emotional.
He said he visited the family and they were “very thankful that I came to tell them exactly what had taken place.”
Gross still keeps in touch with the families via telephone or letters. In fact, he received an email on Tuesday, Veterans Day, from one of the families thanking him for his service.
A day doesn't go by that he doesn't think of the friends he lost.
He has a propeller of the actual plane in his living room, and said “if I close my eyes, I could still see the crew, my pilot, co-pilot and what they look like.”
Gross said he doesn't have any pictures but said he holds onto the good memories.
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