John and Francis's moving posts about their fathers and grandfathers have inspired this brief Remembrance Day comment of my own. I know, being a Hun my act of remembrance doesn't count for much. But then again ....
Since I don't have any of the few photos here that exist of my grandfather Johann ("Hans") Lamm, a picture that we took a few years ago of the headstone of the grave that he shares with another man at the cemetery in Niederbronn-les-Bains (Alsace) will have to suffice.
My grandfather was 24 when he died from a bullet wound in the stomach in February 1945, some three months before the end of the war. Not long before that, he had received another injury, but was unfortunately declared fit for service by a GP from his native town of Bamberg (who, needless to say, survived the war and merrily continued to work until well into the 1960s).
He never met the twin daughters who were born about a month later.
He never met me.
But then I guess my life would have been very different if hadn't died. In fact, I'm convinced that if he had survived I wouldn't be here at all. My mother's life would have taken a completely different, maybe happier turn, preventing my parents' fateful encounter and disastrous mixing of genes. Such is the contingency of life.
Still, I like to think that I have inherited some of his traits and talents, as I'm told that he was a very even-tempered and athletic man.
Well ... I am a runner. One of two ain't bad.