In May of 1944, American airman Gerald E. Sorensen was shot down over Nazi occupied Belgium. The Belgian Resistance recovered Sorensen and sheltered him in the home of the Abeels family. Friendship between Sorensen and the Abeels blossomed and they came to consider each other as family. The Abeels were active in the Resistance and Sorensen ultimately volunteered to join his Belgian brother Roger Abeels in the Secret Army. On the day of the liberation Sorensen and Abeels were killed in combat with the Nazis, fighting side-by-side.This book tells Sorensen's story: his upbringing, education, marriage and military service; his evasion of capture and kinship with the Abeels; his experience in the Resistance; his final combat and his impact on those he left behind. But this book is more than a biography. It recounts the courageous struggle of the Belgians who risked everything to save Allied airmen and combat the Nazi occupation of their country and explains why Sorensen and Abeels are extraordinary symbols of the enduring values at the heart of today's transatlantic alliance.
Professor Jerome W. Sheridan is the director of the American University's Brussels Center in Belgium where he specializes in the European Union, NATO, and transatlantic relations. He is the president of the American Overseas Memorial Day Association Belgium, and lives in Tervuren, Belgium.