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Showing posts with label veteran. Show all posts
Showing posts with label veteran. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Honor of Veterans


 The Army Soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
'Step forward now, Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?'

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,

'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
I can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,

And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep.....
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,

Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
'Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'
~Author Unknown~

Monday, May 25, 2009

My thoughts on death & cemeteries...

Being Memorial Day, a lot of posts have had a bit of cemetery talk. While commenting to Lover of Life about her post (lifeinthesecondhalf.blogspot.com/2009/05/i-hate-memorial-day.html) I felt the sudden urge to blog about my desires for when the inevitable happens...

Every day I get in the car, I risk losing my life on the road. Not that I am paranoid about it, just a fact. Anywhere you drive these days, you're likely to see those little crosses and fake flowers marking another loss of life along the highways. I told my husband that should I die in a car accident and he puts one of those things up for me, I will come back to haunt him! Please, don't take offense if you've done that for a loved one. This is only my personal feeling about me and my loved ones. Should Hubby meet that end, I will NOT put up the little cross with fake flowers. I do not want to be remembered for how I died, but for how I lived! I don't want him to think of where I died, but where I lived! I'd rather him be reminded of me by looking out to the gardens and the animals. I hope he leaves the feminine touch in the master bath to remember how I loved it. I hope he reads the notes I scribbled in the margins of my Bible, and the numerous blogs I have posted all over cyberspace. That is me. I am not a corpse along the roadway.

Now, on to cemeteries... I obligingly take my mom to my Gramma's grave a couple of times a year. I don't really feel much about it because I know Gramma isn't there. She is with her Lord in heaven! I know Mom gets something out of this visit, so I take her. I'm glad she's not reading this... When she is gone, I will not be spending time at her grave site. I will have pictures and memories.

Hubby and I have decided to donate our bodies to the university's medical school. When they are done, Hubby's cremated remains will be spread here on his beloved farm. I told him to flush me, throw me in the creek, whatever... I just want to end up in the water.

If my daughter wants to do something special on Memorial Day, have her spend an hour relating stories of some good times with me to friends and family.

As far as the Veterans are concerned, I am as grateful as anyone for the service they gave. It is stirring to drive past a Veterans' Cemetery and observe the tidy rows of miniature flags. Thank you to all those that volunteer to carry on this tradition. It is an honor to them, but I think an even greater honor is a public service where living Vets can tell their tale, the ones who gave their all can be recognized, and just generally show everyone of them the respect and thanks they so well deserve. Take your children to these events and educate them on the price of our Freedom.

P.S. I had to come back to edit this post. While commenting on yet another Memorial Day posting, it suddenly dawned on me... What people get from the ritual of visiting the graves... I had just read Joan's post at 50somethingwoman.blogspot.com/ She spoke of the bonding, family values kinds of things. Blame it on my upbringing I suppose. Those things were never nurtured in me. That makes me sad. I must be missing out on something really special...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

WWII Veteran

This weekend, as we come together with family and friends for cookouts, graduation parties and camping trips, let us set aside a bit of time to reflect on those who gave their lives so that we might have the freedom to do those very things...

I am proud to introduce to you my father-in-law J.C. He served in the Navy during WWII. Luckier than a lot of the men he served with, he not only lived to return home but also lived long enough to witness the memorial built in honor of those who fought in that "war to end all wars".

He is now 85 and his dream was to see the WWII Memorial before he died, though he wondered if he would. In July of 2007, Hubby's brother took him to tour Washington, D.C.
This is a military family. Hubby joined the army after high school, as did his son Tim. His brother Richard (shown below with J.C.) served in Vietnam and retired from the military. Richard's son Shawn is also career army, a member of special forces, a black hawk and fixed-wing pilot. It was a very emotional trip for all three generations. Richard found names on The Wall of friends that he had thought had made it home. Yes, they made it 'home'. J.C. had a tough time. There is a reflection pond with a star for every lost man. With tears in his eyes he said, "I'm sorry you boys didn't make it home." We consider them men, but in reality a lot of these soldiers that have made the ultimate sacrifice were still being raised by mom and dad when they went to serve. For many, it was the first night away from home. For too many, they would never again fall asleep in their own room.
In the last couple of years, there has been a lot of talk about the dying WWII vets. Their numbers are shrinking daily, with not many of them left. I had seen several news reports about different groups of veterans making the journey to D.C. to witness the Memorial. I thought J.C.s story might be an interesting read. He was raised in a coal mining camp and also served in the CCCs before the army. Without telling him, I sent an e-mail about him and his D.C. trip to the local newspaper. I got a reply saying they wanted to interview him.
This photo of J.C. the reporter and the photographer was taken in August of 2007.

Here the photographer has J.C. and Jackie posed in front of some old photographs and Army papers.

The story appeared on the front page of our Xenia Gazette and also on the Fairborn daily paper. Fairborn was their hometown before coming to live with us. Hubby's sister and brother both live there. We kept it a surprise, and boy were they ever surprised! I framed the article and it hangs in their bedroom. It's something that J.C. is very proud to show off. It's a shame that all veterans don't get that kind of recognition

Here's a fun picture of J.C. 'in the day' with a few buddies having some brewskies:

Thank you veterans!