Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honor the Veteran......

Today is Veterans Day for us in the USA. It is a time for somber reflection for me, and a time of joyous remembrance, too.

My family has been soldiers since forever, I guess. We have Grandfathers of some Greatness buried in the Confederate Soldier Cemetary in Austin, Texas, and we have Grandfathers who fought in the Texas Revolution. They came from Tennessee and Georgia to Texas.......

This is something I posted for Memorial Day, 2008. I would love for more people to read it, so I am posting it here again, in hopes that it will interest you.

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Remembering Mama and Daddy.....

This is Mama and Daddy, holding me and my sister, Debbie. This picture was taken in/about spring, 1947. I am the cute chubby one in Daddy's arms.

My Dad was a military man, which is what made me think to post this today. He spent 12 years in the U.S. Army, then switched over and stayed 14 more years in the Air Force. Daddy retired from the military at the ripe old age of 42, and spent the next 33 years as a fishing guide on the Texas coast. He fished the bays, as opposed to the Gulf. He loved to fish.

We lived all over the world. My brother was born in the Philippine Islands. The 'Baby' of the family talked with a British accent for a full year after we returned from England. Today, we are thankful for the experience.

My Mama was as military as Daddy was. She was the perfect wife for him; dutifully packing up the household and dragging her brood across country or national borders. It was all the same to her. We loved it, thrived on it, and missed it when the moving was done. Life wasn't always easy- I believe this picture was taken during the 'chicken house' period. Mama said that for awhile, housing was so scarce, they lived in a chicken coop.

That must have been tough.

Of course, we were never completely sure of the truthfulness of some of these stories. Daddy told us once that he was flat-footed because a tank had run over his feet during the war. We believed him, and told that story all over school, then found out in our adult years that he was just funnin' us. LOL

I remember when we went to England, we rode to New York City on the Greyhound bus. It took us 3 days on that bus. There was a lady riding most of the way with us who was going to Washington DC, and she had big briefcases full of papers with her. The Supreme Court had agreed to hear a case that she had brought before it, and she was going for the hearing. Today, I would love to know what case it was, and what the resolution was.

I remember Daddy today, and am humbled by his service to our country. He did not lose his life in battle, but laid his life on the line for us anyway. He got to Europe on D-Day, and walked to Germany. He said the most scared he ever was during the war was when the radio operator made an error and directed their own air support back on them. Daddy didn't talk about the wars much, until his last days.

Only if he would be ill and run a fever did he ever talk about the war. Then, he would rave. I never understood why that was so, just that it was. During the last few months before he died, he would tell stories about the war and about his family to my sister- the one Mama is holding in the picture. She was the 'Keeper of the Stories'. I was relegated to doing his manicures and cutting his hair. He seldom trusted me to give him a shave tho. LOL

Daddy served in Korea as well. I remember the morning he came home like it was yesterday. Shortly after his return, he went TDY to Matagorda Island, home of a Radar Bombing Squadron. He was in Heaven there, for Matagorda Island, 12 miles off the Texas coast, was a fishing/hunting paradise for VIPs, both in the military and in politics. The RBS squadron was not as important as the fishing/hunting. They called it "Special Services", and that was Daddy's job; Special Services was code for fishing.

We learned at an early age that 'loose lips sink ships', and we did not talk about what Daddy 'did'. I remember one time, he was gone for several days. Only after it was all said and done did we learn that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been meeting on the Island. That was a very big deal.

We tried to get his records once, because we wanted to find out more about his life when he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston. He was in the Cavalry there, and worked with the mules. He always told us that he had caught dandruff from those mules, and that was why he lost his hair. We were scared to go close to a mule for years, lest we get the same dandruff!

If we had his records, we could have found out where he worked, what barracks he lived in, and things like that. But because of his security clearance, his records were sealed. We will be long gone before they are available.

Daddy died in 1991, followed by Mama in 1992. They are buried in the little cemetery at his beloved Port O'Connor, Texas. Mama used to fuss that she didn't want to be buried there. She said that when a storm came, that cemetery would be under 20 feet of water, and so it would. But when Daddy died, she could not bring herself to bury him anywhere else, even knowing that she would be right there with him, if/when a 'big one' comes in.

I salute all those veterans who have served to protect our freedoms; Those of the past, those of the present, and those of the future. I am thankful for Them.

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Today, our Sons and Daughters have joined the ranks of the Veterans. Our Grandsons, Granddaughters, nephews and nieces, and the children of friends and neighbors are the soldiers. I am thankful for them, and very, very proud of them!

16 comments:

T Opdycke said...

What wonderful family stories to tell and retell. My father served in WWII, also. He rarely talked about his war experiences.

Today is indeed a day of remebrance to all those who have served and those currently serving in the armed forces.

tina said...

A wonderful tribute to your parents Janie. A beautiful picture of them too. Sharing stories help to bring back such good memories.

NellJean said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal story, Janie.

Flat feet were what kept my oldest helf-brother from the service, the next two served in both WW II, where ones plane was shot down in the Pacific but he survived to serve again in the Korean War. The other retired after 30 years, always modest about his efforts. When asked what he did in Washington in the last months of his career, he said, "I held the General's Horse."

azplantlady said...

Oh Janie, what a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your father's history with us.

Amy said...

I enjoyed your post, Janie. That was a nice tribute to your family and others. My son, who is a senior just joined the Marines. I am very proud of him and also have sad feelings of him leaving.

Jim Groble said...

Thank you

The Violet Fern said...

I honor your daddy today. I honor his service. What wonderful stories - and I am sure some never told. Thank you for sharing this. I never knew you could catch dandruff from a mule!

Mary Delle said...

Janie, A really nice post. So nic to hear about your father.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I really enjoyed reading about your father. Sounds like he had some great stories for you kids! That is one of the sweetest family pictures I've seen.

janie said...

Thanks for all the comments. I am real proud of my folks.

Violet Fern, I don't think you can catch dandruff from a mule. LOL, I think that was just one of Daddy's stories.

ancient one said...

And your folks I sure are/were proud of you... I just loved this post.. thanks for sharing...

LeSan said...

Ahh Janie, what a wonderful heart warming and inspiring story. I am so grateful to you and your family for all that you have given. A soldier is never alone on the battlefield, his family is always there with him/her. You have every reason to be incredibly proud. I feel honored to know you. Thank you for sharing this story with us and thank most dearly for giving me and my family the freedom we enjoy.

Rosey Pollen said...

Janie,
What a sweet tribute paid to your parents on Veterans day. Thanks for running it again.
(((hugs))
Rosey

James Missier said...

Such a lovely story Janie, really honor your parents for their service for the country.
Thanks for sharing it.

Jacqueline said...

How generous of you, Janie to share such fond and precious memories of your parents. A great tribute, indeed!
Thanks, I've enjoyed reading them.

Elsa said...
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