"Remembering Our Fallen" Win a MPC Coop May HAL w/hosts Mike & Sally

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by mlm Mike, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. Jessimom

    Jessimom Cats Rule Dogs Drool

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    All of my Grandmother's brothers, and brothers in law were in the Army, As were her cousins. I will have to get some of the stories retold and add them here. I will share my Aunt's wedding photo back in 1944 or 1945. That's my grandmother on the bottom right. They always wore their uniforms in the weddings back then. They are all gone now, but will never be forgotten.

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    Fortunately the only loss that was suffered in a war, was by one of my cousins (2nd cousin) and it was his leg that he lost in Vietnam. He had a wooden leg as a replacement. When I was little, he would take a steak knife and stab the wooden leg to freak out all the kids. I remember one party when he decided to let the kids stab his leg. One of my cousins grabbed the knife and stabbed the OTHER leg. That was the end of stabbing anything.

    My father and brother were both in a Navy. My father on the USS Wasp, which he was the photographer on the ship when they went to pick up the Gemini 4 Space Capsule.If anyone is interested, I can scan some of those photos. We have hundreds. My brother served on the USS Nimitz.

    I have so much respect for all the men and women that have served, past and present.
     
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  2. sarasweatman

    sarasweatman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My grandfather fought in WWII. He was climbing a ladder behind another soldier. The soldier dropped his rifle, hitting my grandfather in the face. Knocked out most of his teeth. He would take out his dentures and tell us stories.
     
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    My father was in WWII. Battle of the Bulge. He was a very young man as back then as birth certificates were only for the rich. At 16 years of age he volunteered, passed the physical and was thrown into hell. While us kids grew up, he rarely told us anything about the war. He did keep his rifle and a small metal box that was always locked.

    Although his body survived the war, his mind was permanently damaged. At times I would see him sitting in his favorite chair eyes wide with memory of a horror long past. One time he had a flashback while driving me to the horse stable. For a moment he thought he was under enemy fire. The car rocketed forward and he pushed me down to the floorboard. He drove the car under a bridge where he herded me under a dark crevice. I was terrified kid just as he must have been when he was fighting in the war.

    Time marched on but he did not. My father's fractured mind went only so far. My mother supported our family while my dad supported her. He tried to make her life easy. He cooked and cleaned, did house repairs. He often visited the VA hospital where he desperately tried to overcome his alcohol addiction. He eventually succeeded but he could not get his life on track. He was unable to adapt and move forward.

    As he grew old and our family grew apart, he would tell me stories of the war. Death all around him. Friends that were gone in an instant. How he refused to parachute out a perfectly good plane. Shooting bomb-carrying kids. Feeding stray dogs that followed the soldiers.

    When he passed away the family came to take his belongings. Mom had the key to his metal box. We opened it and found a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and several other medals. We had no idea our dad had been a hero. He was buried with full honors including a 21 gun salute.

    Not bad for a 16 year old kid without a birth certificate.
     
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  4. mamahmendez

    mamahmendez Chillin' With My Peeps

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    These are my grandparents; young, in love and serving. My grandmother always told me about the time they spent stationed in Japan; it was, by far, her favorite place they were stationed. My father, the youngest of their 3 kids, was only 14 when they lived in Japan. He learned to ride a motorcycle while there. He would sneak off base and watch Japanese movies while snacking on dried seaweed.
    My grandmother would tell me about the 2 week trip back from Japan they made across the ocean. She cried for most of the trip. She carefully packed up all the memories she could from her time in Japan. Japanese beaded wall hanging, rugs, masks, figurines, glass art and hand carvings covered her apartment. We would spend hours playing dominoes with a set she carried with her "on the boat".
    My grandmother was a military nurse. She was educated, dedicated and passionate. When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer she spent hours talking to me about what to expect and my risks. I was 18 and scared. And she was clinical and factual. Needless to say, it wasn't the most comforting discussion. But she held my hand and told me not to worry.
    A couple of week after my surgery I received a gift from my grandmother with a hand written note. It was her Navy Nurse Lapel pin turned into a charm with a note that read "Wear this on your chain in memory of me." That was in April 2000. My grandmother passed away December 2009 on my mother's, her daughter-in-law's, birthday. And her charm does remind me of her.

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  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    This HAL we honor our men and women in uniform, though in my humble opinion words and ceremonies don’t seem adequate for what we ask of them. It also seems to me that the sacrifices of their families are too often mentioned as an afterthought. I’d like to change that and outline for you what some of those sacrifices are, at least from my perspective as a Navy wife from 1968 until 1990. This isn’t meant to be a pity party, just a few facts about military life as I lived them.

    Sacrifice was pawning my wedding rings so my children could eat. Early enlisted pay was not much to start with, but when my husband’s ship was sent out to sea before he could get an allotment set up it meant he got his paycheck where he was, not where the kids and I were. That month I hadn’t a penny until he either came home or could get something mailed to us, so I did what I had to do. I never did find the extra money to redeem my rings.

    Navy life meant packing up and moving on, usually on very short notice. It meant reintroducing our kids to their grandparents and extended family once every two or three years, and never being able to shake the feeling that somehow we didn’t quite fit in.

    It was making a home out of a house so ramshackle the only thing holding it up was the cockroaches in the walls linking legs and the layers of pea green paint on the walls.

    It meant no chance for me to have a career – just a series of dead end jobs that barely helped make ends meet.

    It meant my kids didn’t form lifelong friendships, and in each new school they were either ahead of or behind their classmates academically.

    Heartbreak was holding my sobbing 10 year old daughter in my arms when she was the only one who wasn’t going to the father/daughter dance with a proud dad escorting her.

    It was promising my eight year old daughter that I would remember to tell Daddy how well she performed in the school Christmas concert because it was her third year in school and he’d still never seen her on the stage.

    It was learning the rules of baseball because I was the only one who could teach my son enough of the game to try out for a team, and it was leaving the laundry and the dishes behind to take him fishing. It was facing those difficult times when a young man has questions only a dad can answer, but has only a mom to turn to.

    Sacrifice was coping with the loss of premature twin boys alone because the Command decided my situation wasn’t critical enough to extend emergency leave when they were born.

    It was long distance holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and milestones. We had been married 13 years before we spent our first Easter together.

    It meant postponing Christmas until May when the ship which was supposed to return to port in early December had its tour extended by 5 months during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. It was something my kids thought was right to do, and I was so proud of them!

    Sacrifice meant putting my pride in my pocket and asking a neighbor for help when the washer (or the dryer or the car or the whatever) broke down.

    It was the sound of the phone at 3:00 in the morning, praying it would be him but terrified that it might be about him. It meant hearing his voice for a few precious minutes, and being willing to go in and wake up three sleeping little people so they’d have a chance to hear him too.

    It was losing sleep night after night during the three years he spent in a village called Chu Lai during the VietNam war. The television broadcaster thought it was his job to give a total body count at end of his broadcasts, apparently not caring that families wouldn’t know for days if their loved one was part of that count.

    It meant that my hallway wasn’t decorated with family photos, but with a world map. Once a week we would stand in front of that map and use red pins for where we thought the ship might be. We used blue ones to mark the far away places he called us from when the ship would hit port.

    We shared our affection with two men in blue uniforms during those years – our sailor and the mailman who brought us the letters and packages. Letters always meant a celebration.

    During the day I was busy taking care of the kids and the things that need tending. But the hours between the time they went to bed and I finally went to bed were the loneliest times I have ever known. There was no one to hold me so I could cry and no one to tease me out of a bad mood. No one there to reassure me that everything was going to be alright. No praise for a job well done or help correcting a task I’d muffed up. And, selfishly speaking, there was no validation of me as wife, partner, and friend.

    I cannot imagine going through those things and so many more without an end in sight - day after day, night after night - because he never made it home to us.

    Let no one think that in this day of instant communication our military families have it any easier. They may have access to email, web cams, instant messaging and cell phones, but that doesn’t diminish their sacrifice. The families left behind are still the ones who have to keep it all together while their loved ones are away, and put it all back together if, God forbid, it all goes terribly wrong.

    So you’ll all forgive me if, while I honor and pray for our brave men and women in uniform, I pray just a little harder for the ones left behind. It’s the only side of the fence I’ve been on, so it’s the one I understand best. I’m proud of my small role in protecting this country, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. We were blessed, and well do we know it - Ken came home from every deployment. Too many don't. It sometimes seems like once the military honors and funeral services are over, the hero's loved ones go home to a house that will no longer ring with laughter, no longer feel the excitement of a homecoming celebration, and it becomes far far too quiet. Where are all the people who said, "I'm so sorry. If there's anything I can do....."?

    Please, please - if you know someone who has lost a loved one in any conflict, don't forget them after a month or so. Remember and honor them every day - make a phone call once a week, send a "thinking of you" card. Do something. But don't pretend that that service member never existed. To do so dishonors his/her memory and the family's sacrifices.

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    My hero - then.......

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    And with our grandson Jamie in Charleston, South Carolina when Jamie graduated from Nuclear Power School in 2009.
     
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  6. Jessimom

    Jessimom Cats Rule Dogs Drool

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    Wow Blooie, very, very thoughtful and well written post. Thank you for YOUR service, as well as Ken's. My brother and I are a year apart, I know that our conceptions both coincide with my father's leave. My brother dropped out of the Nuclear training school - it was just too intense for him. So, congratulations on your grandson's accomplishment!!
     
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  7. Cynthia12

    Cynthia12 Always Grateful Premium Member

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    No story..Just a bit of a background of who has served and who is serving now in our family.

    This is a photo of my husband a while back. He is retired Army.

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    Our son in law is in the Navy.

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    His son, our grandson is in the Army, in Kuwait right now.

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    Another photo of him..sort of..his feet hanging from a helicopter. Made mom and grandparents nervous. Of course he doesn't mind it.

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    We also have a grandson in the Navy.

    A selfie! :)

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    Grateful for all that serve, and their families as well. Have a cute cartoon that I will share. Fitting for this young man above. He's getting married this month, will come home, get married, and go back to VA..she will stay here until he is stationed somewhere for a while.

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    Last edited: May 5, 2016
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  8. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Sing Brightly Premium Member Project Manager

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    Wow, Blooie. Very well written and touching. Thank you and your husband for your service... :thumbsup
     
  9. NaJoBeLe

    NaJoBeLe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank You for this. I'm on the other end as AD Air Force. I really appreciate your perspective. The sacrifices and responsibilities of those left behind are all too often forgotten or not given the credit they deserve. I'm not one for tears but I felt my eyes watering up as I was reading this and realizing that my wife has endured some of the same things as you mentioned. We crossed 15 years of Service this past Jan. I say we because it is a family commitment as you are aware. This Jun we will have our 15th wedding anniversary so she has endured the journey with me through all of it. We were high school sweethearts and I proposed a week before leaving for basic and we got married after I graduated. We left small town Alabama and headed for Alaska. We were there for about a month before 9/11 happened and the deployments began. I have been more fortunate than several but the sacrifices she endured while I was away was undoubtedly hard. Simply put Thank You for 1 sharing your side and 2 for your part in service.
     
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  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I am humbled. I hope the stories and photos keep rolling in!

    @NaJoBeLe It is tough. But at the end of the career is an entirely new world waiting for you, the kids, and your wife. They can hold their heads high because they've been through things many people can't even imagine! And at least today Vets are respected. I think the toughest part for me was watching Ken coming home from VietNam, getting out, then trying to find a job. Nobody would hire vets. We tried to find a nicer apartment but landlords wouldn't rent to VietNam vets. So Ken went back into the military just a few weeks after getting out. The day he was flying back out he was in uniform and we made the mistake of stopping by a small diner for lunch. The waitress - out loud and not caring who heard - gave our table to another server because she wasn't "going to put food in front of a baby-killer." I hated the embarrassment in Ken's face and the sadness in his eyes. Yeah. Things have improved since then for vets, but it's amazing how much of it is lip service. Well, at least most of the open hatred is gone. I've had people tell me that we lived off "their dime" since they pay taxes and the military is paid from tax money. Well, the military pays those same taxes, both during active duty and retirement, so I always smile and ask them if they'd risk their necks and their family's stability plus pay their own wages. Kinda makes me sad, but I still would do it all over again.

    @Cynthia12 You must be so proud of your husband, son-in-law, and grandson. Think of that - so much honor there!!

    @Jessimom Nuclear power school is tough, and Jamie called several times to tell us he just didn't think he could get through it. But with the help of some excellent instructors and a few words from Grampa, he made it.

    We raised Jamie and he had decided to into the Navy when he was only 11 years old. He never thought of doing anything else. After he finished protoype school in Balston Spa, he was stationed on board a nuclear submarine. He had to do all his classes and get his "quals" done to earn his submariner's dolphins. Ken put in a call to the CO of the boat and explained that he'd served on an old diesel sub, and wanted Jamie to have his dolphins. The CO thought it was fantastic, so Ken sent his old dolphins to the boat. Jamie had no idea that during the ceremony when the dolphins were pinned on, they'd be his grandfather's. They look a little different than the new ones, but still within regs, so those are the ones Jamie has. He sent his new ones - the ones he would have been awarded - to Ken. Love tradition!

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    Jamie with the set of dolphins once worn by his grampa.
     

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