Monday, May 26, 2008

Pro Patria Mea

by Nancy

The title of this blog means "for my country" in Latin. I chose it because today is Memorial Day in the United States, a holiday for most of its people. Amid the sales and cookouts and vacation trips, the true reason for the day often receives comparatively little attention. This is the day to honor those who've served our country, some of them by sacrificing their lives. For men and women in the uniforms of their respective nations around the world, today is not a holiday.

As the daughter of two veterans, both of them gone now, I wanted to honor all members of the armed services, regardless of nation, today. My parents met in the navy. My mother was a disbursing officer, and my father was a hospitalman chief at the naval hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. As a disbursing officer, my mother required armed guards on payroll day because the sailors were paid in cash. The guards had to drive her into Memphis to pick up the payroll and escort her around the base as she disbursed it. She and my father met when he drew guard duty. Not until he was dying did it occur to me to ask her how a lieutenant (junior grade) and a chief petty officer could date without running into trouble. With a shrug, she answered, "It was a small base, and everybody knew everybody."

My father grew up in the Phillippine Islands, where he and two of his brothers, Robert and John, joined the navy in 1941. Stationed on the fortress island of Corregidor, which fell to the Japanese in May 1942, they became prisoners of war. Daddy was held in Manila for a while but spent his 21st birthday on a hell ship bound for Japan, where he remained until the war ended. Because there was no anesthetic for prisoners, he underwent an appendectomy without it. At least John and Robert were held in the same camp toward the end, and they were liberated together. Only when they reached the naval hospital in San Diego did they learn that their mother had been killed in the bombardment when the Allies took back Manila.

Daddy claimed no one told him his status as a former POW made him exempt from service at the front when the Korean War rolled around, so he shipped out as a hospital corpsman attached to a unit of marines. He lost his watch going over the side of the ship for the Inchon landing (pictured at left). While driving an ambulance to the front later, he sustained shrapnel wounds in his hand but made several more trips before receiving medical attention, conduct that earned him the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. He was eligible for the Bronze Star as a result of the Corregidor siege, but he never claimed it. When I asked him why, he said General MacArthur ordered them for all the men he left behind to be captured when the navy took him off in a PT boat, and Daddy felt it didn't mean much when awarded en masse that way.

His military service ended after he contracted tuberculosis in Korea and underwent a partial thoracotomy, the recommended treatment at the time. Medically retired from the service as a result, he spent 18 months in a VA hospital, where he took up leather working and started collecting coins. The leather working fell by the wayside, but he collected coins for the rest of his life. He filled a jar for each of his grandchildren with coins minted in the year of that child's birth. Thanks to the G. I. Bill, he was able to earn a college degree. Twenty-one years later, I graduated from the same college.

My mom joined the navy (WAVES ~ Women Accepted for Volunteeer Emergency Service) in 1944. Her twin brother was in the army, stationed in England, and I suspect she wanted to do something for the war effort, too. She started as an ensign after supply school, became a lieutenant (junior grade) and had been awarded promotion, but not actually promoted, to full lieutenant when she resigned her commission to marry Daddy.

They started their married life at Camp Lejeune, which was then known to the residents as "Swamp Lejeune." Their military service was such an important influence on their lives that we sang the navy hymn, "Eternal Father Strong to Save," as the concluding piece at each of their funerals. The minister at both was a navy veteran and former chaplain.

Daddy died in 2000 and Mom in 2005, but they commemmorated every Veterans Day and every Memorial Day during the 52 years they were married. My parents and my uncles were, obviously, among the lucky ones who survived the war. As we all know, many men and women died. As an elderly RAF veteran told a television interviewer about his comrades in the Battle of Britain, "They gave all their tomorrows for your today." On this particular one of my todays, I salute all of those veterans and everyone who came after them.

Today, the banditas honor the following veterans and active service members :

Thomas V. Northcott, HMCUSN (ret.) - World War II
(Pacific Theater;Corregidor, POW) and Korea
Eleanor Jackson Northcott, Lt.(j.g.)USNR - World War II, stateside
John F. Northcott and Robert Northcott, U. S. Navy - World War II

(Pacific Theater; Corregidor, POWs)
Edward W. Jackson, U. S. Army - World War II, European Theater

James Ramirez, U. S. Army 1987-1991

Cpl. Laurence Burgoon, U. S. Army 101st Airborne, World War II (European Theater; D-Day, Operation Market Garden, Battle of the Bulge, POW)

Currently serving in the U.S. Army 103rd Airborne, my two nephews: Lt. Thomas Lutz and (overseas) Daniel McGinnis. My brother, Major General Dennis Lutz in the Army Reserves, my brother Michael Lutz (Vietnam Signal Corp) and my father Sgt. Ralph E. Lutz (deceased) - WWII (European Theater, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge)

Supply Sgt. Charles Kayse, U.S. Army, World War II, Philippines.
Sgt. Chad Chapman, Louisiana National Guard, U.S. Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom

Sergeant First Class Benjamin Lewis, U.S. Army, World War II, Guadalcanal


My grandfather, Lt. Colonial William Ready, WWII 413th Sqdn, 96th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. Medals: The Silver Star, Distinguished Flight Cross, & Air Medals. He flew 18 combat missions, had 170 combat hours flying B-17s as pilot on missions, 13 in Group Lead or Combat Grp Lead position. Remained on active duty through Korean War

My father, Maj James Kelley, US Air Force, Ret. Served stateside during WWII. War ended just as his combat group was called to Europe.

My oldest brother, Capt. Jerrold Kelley, US Army Helicopter pilot, Vietnam. He was transferred to Vietnam as pilot of a gun ship, also flew into Nam to rescue injured soldiers, & later flew higher rank officers to view the battle sites. Awarded the Purple Heart and 2 Bronze Stars with valor, and 2 Distinguished Flight Crosses with valor,

Another brother, Chief Warrant Officer John Kelley, US Army did not serve during war time.

And two nephews, James and David Kelley, Army Reserves served in Kuiwat and Iraq

I also had a great-great uncle who was award the Medal of Honor. His heroic action resulted in the capture of 36 German soldiers and the seizure of the strongpoint.


I'd like to honor the following stalwart Veterans:
My father, Corporal, Surgical Tech, US Army, James H. Pickering, WWII, European Theatre
My Uncle, James A. McDowell, US Army, WWII, European Theatre (deceased)
My Father-in-law, Pharmacists Mate, O. William Adams, US Navy WWII, Pacific Theatre (deceased)
My Uncle-in-law, Victor W. Adams, US Army, Meterorologist, WWII, (Various) (deceased)
My Uncle-in-law, Ralph Dowling, US Army, WWII, Pacific Theatre
My friend, Alex W. Poe, USMC, Vietnam
As well as ancestors serving in WWI, War of 1812, Civil War, French and Indian Wars, and the American Revolution.

Anna S:

I'd like to honour all the British troops, past and present, living and deceased, who have done so much in so many conflicts. We're very proud of you. A special tribute to my father-in-law, Fred G Sugden - RAF - WWII and to my brother-in-law Steve currently serving in the RAF.

YouTube abounds with tribute to the services, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. Is there a service member you'd like to honor or a tale of heroism you'd like to share? What's your favorite book or movie with military characters?


doglady said...

Wow, Banditas! You all have so very much to be proud of in your soldiers in service.

I would like to honor my late father Senior Master Sergeant Abram James Bolton, Jr. He served in the United States Army for six years. He lied about his age and enlisted at 17. He served in Korea. He turned down medals awarded to him for bravery in drawing fire onto his position so that his wounded and dying comrades could be carried off the battlefield. We asked him why he turned down the medals and he said "You don't need medals for doing the right thing." After his Army stint he enlisted in the United States Air Force and served in the Air Force for 21 years. Part of this service was during Vietnam. He was a fighter jet mechanic and we didn't find out until after his death that he was often flown into locations where the U.S. Military was NOT supposed to be in order to extract important info from downed planes. Can you tell I am really proud of him?

I LOVE the movie Bridge Over the River Kwai, The Great Escape, The Green Berets and The Dirty Dozen.

doglady said...

WOW! I need to get to sleep! TEN HUT! GOLDEN ROOSTER! You are coming home with me. AGAIN!!!!

Can you tell I am up in revision hell AND using any excuse NOT to write?

Nancy said...

Wow, Pam! No wonder you're so proud of your father. Thanks for sharing that story. Did he ever tell you why he hopped over to the USAF after doing a stint in the army?

As for Revision Hell, at least commenting on the blog is writing-related. My ultimate desperation procrastination move is cleaning the shower or the toilets. Or, as my navy veteran parents might have called the latter, the "heads." When I was growing up, I spent many a Saturday morning peering under the rim of a toilet with a toothbrush in my hand.

Congrats on the GR! Put that rooster through his paces. The lack of toes will preclude a precision about-face, but he has wings to salute with!

Good luck with revisions. I have some, too. *sigh*

Jane said...

My cousin was in the army during Desert Storm, but he wasn't sent over. I'm definitely grateful for all the sacrifices made by our military heroes and heroines.

My favorite movie military/war movie is "The Bridge on the River Kwai." You can't hear me, but I'm whistling the Colonel Bogey March.

Congrat on the GR, doglady.

Nancy said...

Jane and Pam, that's a great movie. Alec Guiness is wonderful in it, and that has to be one of the catchiest tunes in movie history. My parents were big John Wayne fans, so we watched The Green Berets every time it came on TV.

Nancy said...

There's no tribute link for the navy because Blogger keeps eating it. Here's the URL for the YouTube video I chose, and tried to share, for "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," the navy hymn.

Helen said...

Congrats on the GR Pam

Nancy that was a beautiful and moving post. Although we don't celebrate Memorial Day here in Australia we do celebrate Anzac Day on April 25th.

I had a great uncle that was killed in action during the 1st world war and is buried in France and my Grandfather served in the 2nd world war in France and Europe he was shot and gassed with mustard gas and passed away when my father was only 16 due to lung problems from the gassing. I have a copy of his medical records here and the things they went through for all of us is amazing. Although I never met him I am very proud of him his name was Thomas Urry.

I am always thankful for the men and woman of the armed forces for all the effort they put in so as we can enjoy life.
Thanks for that Nancy

Have Fun

Helen said...

As for favourite movies I love The Bridge Over The River Kwai The Dirty Dozen and I loved Pearl Harbour.
There was a movie my mother and I loved I can't remember the name of it but it was about 4 brothers who were on the same ship during the war and they were all lost.


Christine Wells said...

Nancy, what a wonderful, moving post. Your parents sound like courageous people--what amazing stories their lives made.

I suppose we never know what we're capable of until we're tested, but I can't imagine undergoing all the horrors our armed forces have/had to face. They are truly remarkable people.

Congrats, Doglady! Make sure you polish the GR's medals for him! He earned the purple heart just from being in P226's company for a while.

Joan said...

A fine tribute to all our armed service members, Nancy. Thank you.

The movie you're thinking of Helen was about the Sullivan brothers (I think that is the name of the family). As I understand it, because of that incident where all four sons of a family were in the same unit the military changed their practice of assigning all members of any one family together.

Trish Milburn said...

Amazing stories, everyone. Nancy, your dad sounds like he was a really neat guy. The story of how he and your mom met was interesting. And you look a lot like your mom.

When I was doing my newspaper internship during college, I interviewed a man who was a POW after the fall of Corregidor and he had some amazing stories of survival.

I had some great uncles who served in WWII. My dad was called for Korea, but he didn't pass the physical because he'd had a broken foot that might have been improperly healed. Currently, my husband has two cousins in the services -- one in the Army, one in the Air Force.

Gannon Carr said...

I would like to honor my husband, who retired last year after serving 21 years in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1986, served as a member of General Schwarkopf's staff during Desert Storm (where he earned the Bronze Star). His last tour included a year long deployment. I'm very proud of him and the sacrifices he made. Mostly I'm just glad to have him home with our children and me!

I would also like to honor my husband's Academy classmate and friend, the late CDR Bill Donovan, who was killed on 9/11 in the attack on the Pentagon. He was one of the finest people I have ever known, and he left behind a loving wife and three beautiful children. We miss him still and honor his memory today and every day.

Cheri2628 said...

Thanks for the very inspirational story, Nancy! My thoughts, prayers, and thanks go out to everyone past and present serving in the military.

Joan said...


Please convey to your husband my heartfelt gratitude for the service he gave to his country.

You know, I do not personally know anyone serving in the military. But several years ago, I had the good fortune to become involved with RT's SOS (Support Our Soldiers) program. It has since evolved into something completely different, but for a period of two years I was able to communicate with service members serving in the Middle East.

I sent packages and letters and got to know several very well. The dedication, commitment, honor, duty and self sacrifice of these men and women astounded me. I was humbled.

jo robertson said...

Beautiful Memorial Day post, Nancy. Thanks for reminding us of the brave men and women who sacrificed and continue to serve the nations of the world.

jo robertson said...

Congrats on the GR, doglady! I'm also in revision hell and trying to avoid it like the plague!

Nancy said...

Helen, I'm glad you liked the post. I wanted it to be a tribute to my parents but especially to my father. Thanks for sharing the stories of your great uncle and grandfather. Mustard gas was a really hideous weapon. I've read a lot about WWI as background for the class I teach on the 1920s.

The movie Wings, Best Picture of 1927 (the first Best Picture Academy Award), is based on a real battle--I think, at a place called St. Mihiel, but I'd have to go look it up to be sure.

Gannon and Cheri, thanks for your stoies and good thoughts.

Thanks for the kind words on the post, everyone. Trish, today's New York Times has an editorial about the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor. Daddy was a life member. Christine, LOL on p226 and the GR!

Joan, I think you're right about that movie title, The Sullivan Brothers. I have some vague memory of that film.

Daddy used to like a series that came on, I think, on Sunday afternoon about the submarine navy, The Silent Service

Jo, welcome to the Revision Hell Club. *g*

Anna Sugden said...

Excellent post, Nancy!

Our version of Memorial Day is on November 11th - Remembrance Day(also known as Poppy Day). The parades and honour given by everyone is a sight to see.

It is the one time when the whole country stops what they're doing at 11am and observes a 2 minute silence. Truly everyone stops - in shops, schools, business, on train stations, in the street. The tills stop ringing and people hang up their phones. It is incredibly moving.

Kate Carlisle said...

Nancy, your post was lovely. Reading it, as well as all the names posted by our Banditas, was so moving for me. Thanks so much!

Doglady, I loved your story, too. Your dad sounds like a great guy and a real hero.

My father was on his way to fight in the Korean War when he received word that his wife was about to give birth. The Air Force sent him back home for the occasion and while he was stateside, the war was declared over. That's why he always called me his lucky charm. :-)

Oh Doglady, congrats on snagging our Bird! I feel your pain in revision hell. I'm there as well, and about to be smacked for trying to sneak out for a bit!

Enjoy your day, everyone!

Nancy said...

Anna S., my fallback picture if I couldn't upload the one of my parents after their wedding was of poppies. I love that tradition and wish we had something like it. Even better, though, is the 2 minutes of silence. I wasn't aware of that.

Thank you, Kate, for your comments about the post and about everyone's contributions from the Lair. I think they added a lot of depth to it, as do the stories our friends are sharing today.

That's sweet about being your father's lucky charm. My niece was born on my father's birthday, and he always called her his "birthday present."

Minna said...

We really have 2 veterans days here. The other one is called Independence Day. And for us World War II means Winter War and Continuation War against Russia. As far as I know, my family didn't lose anyone in those wars. And one of my cousins was even in the Lotta Svärd Organization. But, I also have 2 cousins who fought in Vietnam. Unfortunately only one of them came back.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Nancy, thank you for such a moving post! And thanx to everyone for sharing stories of those who mean so much to you and who served their country so faithfully and well.

A special THANK YOU to Gannon's husband for his recent service and an extra thought/prayer to your friend Bill Donovan's family.

I'd like to add my recently deceased Father-in-law, Sebastian Munoz who served in the US Army in World War II in the Pacific Theater and my nephew Brandon Munoz who served in Iraq in the US Marines to the list of honorees.


Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, what a marvelous, moving post. Thank you so much for sharing your parents' stories with us. And it was also really moving to see the list from the other Banditas.

I don't have any close relatives who served in the military although I have uncles by marriage and blood great-uncles who did. The furniture in this house was carved by my mother's uncle Loll Hansen who signed up for WWI at the age of 16 and lost a leg in France.

I think my favorite war movie is THE GREAT ESCAPE.

Pam, congrats on the rooster!

Anna Campbell said...

Gannon, that's so sad about your friend.

As Helen said, our version of Veterans' Day is Anzac Day which I think is the most important public holiday we have here. It's interesting - Anzac Day commemorates a defeat, the Gallipoli campaign in the Dardanelles in World War I. I think there's something very significant to the national character that we don't celebrate a victory, we commemorate all those men who lost their lives in a hopeless battle.

limecello said...

Wow, Nancy, this was such a terrific post.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

wildchild said...

Nice post. I do not have anyone close to me in the military. I do wish that our men could come home and be with their families.
Happy Memeorial Day!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, Pam, what a great story about your Dad. Oh, and congrats on the GR! Guess he's headin' to L.A. today, eh?

Helen, I've read stories about the gassing, and its awful. Also, my father was a Surgical Tech in WWII and he talked about gas patients and how terribly hard it was for them. My DH's family has a wild story about one of the wayward sons who ran away to join the circus - really - then lied about his age and joined up to serve in WWI. The only way his family knew what had happened to him was that he put his mother down as next of kin to be notified when he died. Which he did, and is buried in France as well. His mother went to France with the Gold Star Mothers program to see his grave in the late 1920's. So sad, eh?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Joanie, I think you're right about the Sullivan brothers and the ship. The whole movie Private Ryan is about that too - bringing home a soldier if all the other sons serving have perished, the rule for which is also based on the Sullivan family losing all their sons to service.

Wish they'd realized it in the Civil War. In one of my ancetral families they lost 5 sons and a bunch of cousins - practically an entire generation - in Company K from N. Carolina.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, Gannon! Picture me awed about your DH's service. I have a friend whose DH is about to retire from the Navy after many year's service as well. Wow. And my sorrows and sympathies to your friend's family. That was a dark day here in DC, and around the world.

Nancy, those links to the UTube clips are fabulous and moving.

Tawny said...

What a lovely post and a fabulous tribute Nancy :-) Thank you!!!

My Grandfather served in the Army as a medic during WWII and my husband served in the Army as well - I'm grateful and awed by their strength and commitment -theirs and everyone who serves.

Anna Sugden said...

Anna - just like the Brits and their Dunkirk spirit!

Nancy - the tradition of poppies is another wonderful one ... and it raises money for veterans/families of veterans at the same time. I can't imagine not having a poppy on Remembrance Day - it's interesting that all public figures also wear their poppies with pride - from newsreaders to football managers.

Minna - fascinating how different countries have different wars to remember, yet we all try to honour those who serve.

Pat Cochran said...

Congratulations, doglady!

I would like to honor my family members who have served our country:

John Veloz, US Army, W.W.II
Alfonso Veloz, US Navy, W.W.II
Faustino Veloz, US Merchant
Marines, W.W.II
Salvador Veloz, US Army, W.W.II
Pete T. Castillo, US Army,W.W.II
Henry Colunga, Sr.,US Navy,W.W.II
John H. Cochran, US Army, Korea
Frank Castillo, Jr.,US Navy, Viet
William Castillo,US Navy,Viet Nam
Sylvester Castillo, US Navy, Viet
David Garcia, US Army, Desert Storm
& Operation Iraqi
Freedom, Iraq
Juanita C. Estrada, US Army,
Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq
-daughter of Frank Castillo, Jr.
Kevin Estrada, US Army, Iraqi
Freedom, Iraq
Tony Henriquez, US Marines,
Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq

The first eight have passed away
and the last two of our Viet Nam
veterans are well. All four of
our Iraq veteran are home safe
and sound. God bless all of our
own veterans! God bless all who
have served and who are now in
service to our country!

Pat Cochran

Helen said...

Thanks for the name of the movie everyone it was such a moving story.
So many people we need to honour and praise for all the work they did for us.
I had a cousin who went to Vietnam with and Australian singer Normie Rowe as well and he never talked about it at all when he came back but thankfully he came back.
Have Fun

Suzanne Welsh said...

Lovely post for Memorial holiday, Nancy.

I'd like to add a special remeberance of all the nurses who have served throughout the years. My mother-in-law, Peggy Staten Welsh was an Army nurse during WWII, stationed on the east coast.

One of my favorite nursing instructors, Norma Gurklis was an army nurse during the Korean conflict. And I have had several friends over the years who were nurses in Viet Nam.

And a friend of mine, Jack Freeman CRNA, recently went back to his second tour in Afghanastan as a nurse anesthetist.

Without their skills or dedication under stressful situations many of our soldiers might not have made it home.

Joan said...

Hey, everyone.

After posting about my previous experience with supporting active military personnel in the Middle East, I heard this website advertised on the radio.

This organization has been in existence for 4-5 years and provides addresses of service members who do not get mail etc.

I now have an address of a PFC and am drafting my letter. Really, there is nothing better than getting to know these guys and gals and doing even a small bit to keep their spirtis up.

Claudia Dain said...

What a lovely tribute!

I would like to honor my late father, who served in the Marines in WWII and my father-in-law, who served on a mine-sweeper in the Navy, WWII. And my late mother, who was a nurse in a VA Hospital in the post WWII years.

Stories? My mother said she heard her first swear word from the doctors in the hospital, particularly the OR, and went on to learn all the rest of the curse words from the disabled vets.

My dad didn't deny the charge so much as laugh at it.

flchen1 said...

Nancy, thank you for such a lovely tribute and reminder.

Congrats on the GR, Pam!

Nancy said...

Thanks to everyone for the kind words about the post. Everyone's contributions helped make it what it is.

Minna, thanks for the information on the holidays there. I'm sorry about your cousin.

AC, thanks for adding your father-in-law and nephew.

Anna C., that's a wonderful story about the furniture.

I think The Great Escape is a lot of people's favorite movie. Some people glom onto Steve McQueen in that movie, but I prefer David McCallum, who went on to become Illya Kuryakin of UNCLE (or maybe already was).

Jeanne, that's interesting about your family in the Civil War. You have long NC roots! That's so sad about the boy who ran away to WWI. Glad you liked the clips.

Anna S.--Dunkirk? You have a day for Dunkirk? That evacuation fascinates me. One of the most interesting things for me when we toured the tunnels at Dover was hearing how Channel Command had planned and supervised it from there.

Pat, that's an amazing list. I'm in awe of such a service tradition. I'm sorry some of them are no longer with you, but I can see why you're so proud.

Joan, thanks for the link on service support.

Tawny, thanks for adding to your other information. I think the chivalrous tradition of not shooting at medics died around WWI. Maybe earlier.

Helen, I'm glad your cousin made it back from Vietnam.

Suz, thanks for reminding us about the military medical staffs. My father owed a lot to navy nurses and doctors. The TV show JAG did an episode that paid tribute to navy nurses in one of its later seasons.

Claudia, thanks for adding your father-in-law and mother. My mother heard her first swear word in the navy--in a softball game, if I remember correctly.

Beth said...

What a great post, Nancy! Thanks for sharing *g*

My father-in-law, a Pathfinder for the 101st, was a true inspiration and a wonderful man and one of my real life heroes *g*

Thanks to all the men and women who serve our country!!

Anna Sugden said...

Can I give a shout out to my dear friend Francella's twin sister who is serving out in Iraq ... Sgt Francine Massey of the 325th Hospital Cash Unit based at Camp Alasad. We're all hoping Francine will be coming home to NJ soon and we're so proud of the work she's doing out there.

Anna Sugden said...

Nancy - no, we don't have a day for Dunkirk, but we're proud of our Dunkirk spirit *grin*.

Isn't David McCullum in NCIS now?

Hmmm I don't know if I have a favourite war movie - A Town Like Alice is probably it. There are lots of good ones, I know. I do have a lot of favourites which are based at the time of war - like Brief Encounter and Enchantment and Yanks.

And if you like stories set in that time - I highly recommend Elizabth Elgin's sagas. All The Sweet Promises is fabulous - about WRNS during the War.

doglady said...

Gannon, please convey my deepest respect and appreciation to your husband for his service to our country. And give your friend my heartfelt sympathy and appreciation of her sacrifice on 9/11.

What a great bunch of posts. Thanks, Nancy for starting us off on a terrific Memorial Day. I visited the American Military Cemetery in Cambridge, England and it was so poignant and awe-inspiring even to my ten year old self.

When I went to Baltimore for the opera auditions we decided on a whim to stop by DC. My Mom and Dad were with me and we got to see the Vietnam Memorial. My Dad spent much of the time searching in silence for certain names on the wall. I always knew when he found one of the many pilots he knew. He would stop and press his palm to that name and bow his head. You have to understand my Dad was a very old-fashioned, stoic, John Wayne type. He was an Air Force mechanic. He kept those planes in top shape so those pilots would make it home. Sometimes they didn't and he took it very personally.

I think Nancy asked why he switched from Army to Air Force. After Korea he decided if he was going to be wet, cold, tired and dirty - he would rather the dirt be engine oil and not mud!

Anna Sugden said...

Doglady! Isn't that the most wonderful cemetery?! It and the one in South Carolina - is it Beaufort? - are so incredibly moving. Even the one in my husband's home village, just outside Cambridge, is amazing - it has German soldiers buried there.

Virginia said...

Great post! I would like to honor all of the men a women who has served our country in the past and the presant.

Trish Milburn said...

gannon, so sorry about your husband's friend, and thanks to your husband for his service.

Minna, sorry about the loss of your cousin in Vietnam.

Kate, that's sweet about being your daddy's lucky charm.

My family's service on my mother's side goes back to the Revolution. My two earliest ancestors to come over to what would become the USA came in the 1700s and served in the Revolution.

This isn't a relation, but we know this older guy who, along with his wife who is now deceased, used to babysit my husband when he was little. This guy was a paratrooper for the 101st Airborne and told us stories about how he parachuted down behind Nazi lines in Germany. During one mission, he was the only one of his group to make it out alive.

I forgot to mention the movies. I recently watched Memphis Belle, which I enjoyed. Also liked Pearl Harbor.

Nancy said...

Gannon, I somehow missed CDR Donovan in my earlier comments. I'm so sorry to have omitted that and sorry for your loss.

Beth, your father-in-law sounds great!

Anna, I hope Sgt. Massey will soon return safely home. Yes, McCallum is now on NCIS. Very good! I loved Memphis Belle. It's a great buddy movie as well as a war movie, I think.

Doglady, I've always wanted to see the wall, and now I'd like to see the WWII memorial as well. As for going Air Force, I can see wanting to get out of the mud. Rumor has it that's the cushiest branch of the service, relatively speaking.

Virginia, thanks for stopping in. Glad you liked the blog.

Trishl, your husband's babysitter sounds pretty cool!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by today.

Jon Maloney said...

Nancy, Your post is a wonderful tribute to your parents and their military service. I enjoyed reading it. - Jon