Since I was a little girl, I have loved barbecue sauce. I love the tangy taste of anything barbecue and especially enjoy when the summers roll around and I can enjoy barbecue sandwiches, barbecue beans, and barbecue chips with family and friends. However, it wasn’t until a few summers ago that I realized my love of barbecue sauce isn’t merely a delicious obsession of mine but also holds familial significance.
On June 6, 2010, I told my father that I was especially craving barbecue sauce that day. He started laughing and told me that my grandfather Billie B. Boyd Jr., who was stationed at Boxted Airfield Base from June-September 1943, also loved barbecue sauce and even made some of his own later in his life. That day, June 6, was actually my grandfather’s birthday. It is also a significant day in history as it is D-Day. On June 6, 1944, the Allied powers landed in Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history and contributed to the Allied victory. My grandfather would have not only celebrated his 19th birthday on June 6, 1944, but would have also celebrated the successful invasion.
Born in 1925, my grandfather was part of the 386 Bomb Group, 554 Squadron during WWII. He served as a waist gunner on a B26 Marauder and completed 50 missions total. Though I was never able to meet him, I have been able to learn a lot about him from my father. I see a lot of my grandfather in my sister and me, especially when we write poetry. My grandfather used to read and write poetry during his life. Below is a photograph of a patriotic poem my grandfather wrote, titled “Who Will Carry the Flag?” The poem exemplifies the courage and bravery of all those who have fought in war.
My grandfather loved being around people and making others laugh. Sometimes I think about what it would have been like to meet him. I imagine his thick McCool, Mississippi accent as he tells me story after story of his time in the war. I imagine talking to him about country music. Would he like the new stuff? I imagine myself attending a Tennessee Volunteers football game with him, cheering on the football players as they cross the checkerboard end zone. The stories I hear about my grandfather and pictures I see of him at Boxted Airfield Base keep him alive in my heart. I am grateful for this website as it gives me the chance to learn more about the man and hero that I get to call my grandfather.