It has been 18 years since Flugtag. It's hard to believe it's been so long.
In the time before I joined the Flugtag Group I had kept my experiences-- what little I could remember of them-- very much to myself. Then I read Rocket Jones and left my story there. I then wrote the story of my experience here. That post has now been included in Wikipedia, yes, that's right, I'm in Wikipedia. Along with others who were there and wrote their stories.
My story led to my being contacted by the father of the little girl I had seen on the gurney. He had been searching for all of those years for someone who had seen his daughter that day, 28 August 1988. You see, Nadine (I finally learned that was her name) was pulled from his arms in the aftermath, both of them very badly burned. She cried for her papa as she was dragged from his arms and that is the last time Roland ever saw her. He was taken away too, and was in hospital in a coma for 6 months.
Whoever would have believed that our paths would cross; Me here in the States and he in Germany 16 years later? And all from a post on a free blogsite?
We did find one another though. And he sent me a picture of Nadine to confirm if that was the child I had written of in my post. It was most definitely her. My heart soared at the possibilty of finding out what had become of her, only to be broken again when I learned that she had lingered at the German Burn Center before finally succumbing to her extensive injuries. She had just turned 5 a couple of weeks before the airshow disaster. Not only did I learn that Nadine had passed, but that Roland had lost his young wife that day also.
I shared everything I could remember of that meeting with Nadine with him and had my sisters translate it to German for me also. I then gave that account to Roland and he has added both versions to his website devoted to Nadine. He had created the website in hopes that someone out there might read and have seen Nadine on that day.
Here is the account as best as I could remember. Ramstein 1988
Roland and I have since become friends, sharing photos of our families. He is now married to a wonderful woman who is the light of his life and has children again. He tells me often that he never thought he would be happy again, but his prayers have now been answered and he has new reason to live.
This time each year I usually take inventory of my spiritual status. It is a time of reckoning for me personally. A time to acknowledge my shortcomings and to try to make restitution for wrongs. A time when I measure my own humanity and come to terms with my failings. I also weigh the impact my death might have on others. I look honestly at what I would have left them with. I try to rectify and cleanse my spirit.
It is a time for soul searching. And a time for setting to rights my own wrongs. After all, I own my sins. No one else may do that for me.
Life is too short and death is too long to not weigh our impact on others.
For me this is a time of resolution.
The 1993 Flugtag Video Documentary approx. 16 min.
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