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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!


linnea paulina said...

Great post! It reminded me of my gramps :o) Happy Memorial Day!

Riceman said...

Very interesting ! i enjoyed reading it. We have rememberance day here in canada my Grandpa was a AA (anti-aircraft) gunner in the second world war. He currently walks around with a piece of iron in his hand. a present from the germans!

SquirrelQueen said...

What a wonderful story and great photos.

Happy Memorial Day,