Learing the hard way

I met Vladan (Left in the photo) through friends when he was an exchange student in the USA. Later I was traveling through what was then still Yugoslavia. I had Vladan's address, but had no other way to contact him other than through the post (this was back in the mid 1970s). So we corresponded and he kindly invited me to come and visit him there. When I eventually arrived there (after traveling from Greece) I was greeted by his wonderful parents (to Vladan's left in the photo) - but Vladan wasn't due back home until the next day. So his parents kindly welcomed me in and fed me generously (which was wonderful!). And after supper, we started talking. And I asked Vladan's father how it was that he spoke English so well. And it turned out that during WW2, he spent a lot of time with American and British soldiers. As we talked he told me of the horrible things that happened there. The Germans had destroyed his family's home, but when the Americans bombed Belgrade, they killed his family. There was nothing I could say. Vladan's parents had survived it all, and they held no ill will towards me. But history has an edge and sometimes when we travel, we find we are the ones who cut the innocent.

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