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Memorial Day and Other Things

May 31st, 2016 at 12:45 am

Strangely, in our family we didn't have anyone who served in the armed forces during war (at least not anyone that I knew). Somehow the timing of war or other circumstances intervened.

But... I still think about people on Memorial Day who lost loved ones or who suffered during war.

Here is my family's story:

- My father was an officer in the Navy between Korea and Vietnam. He still has his hat and his ensign whistle, and great stories about being on the ship.

- My grandfather's brother enlisted in WWI even though he was in Canada and they were neutral. I didn't know him, but my grandfather talked about how he watched his brother's dog while his brother was in Europe. That brother did come home, but died before I was born; since he had no children, I have his medal.

- My grandparents emigrated to the US from Canada, and came down on the train on the West Coast the night they bombed Pearl Harbor. My grandfather had rheumatic fever when he was young, so he couldn't serve in WWII. He worked at the post exchange, and my grandmother wrote down POW messages from Japan and the Phillipines and sent word to the POW's families via penny postcards. I have the postcards and letters the families sent back, and I treasure them; they make me cry every time I read them! Some people hadn't heard that their relatives were alive until my grandmother sent those postcards!

- My father-in-law was a young boy during the Blitz in London. His mother didn't send him to the country where it was safer because she wanted him to stay with her. His stories are pretty scary, but he ended up making it through the war! He's 87 now!

I feel like my family was so lucky, and I am very grateful!

4 Responses to “Memorial Day and Other Things”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    Interesting! My father did not serve in WWII, because he was already married with young children (my older brother and sister). But his brother, my uncle, served in the Navy, and fought at Iwo Jima. (He lived to be 90). My own brother wanted to join the Navy when he was young, but was turned away because his feet were flat. My husband was drawn number 7 in the draft lottery (Vietnam era), but he was granted conscientious objector status and served by working in a veteran's facility. I don't believe either of my grandfathers served, either. One was a minister, and the other died young. So there haven't been a lot of servicemen in my family. Still, I always pause on Memorial Day and remember those who have been lost to war and all the families that have been touched.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:


    I too feel lucky and grateful when it comes to my own family. As I just thought about it, actually most of the men in my family have been in the military. But... There just aren't very many men in my family. The ratio of females to males is absurd. For example, our parents have a total of 8 sisters and one brother. Of course these days women can join the military but no females in my family have been in the military. My sister is a military wife (her husband was deployed twice during the Iraq war) but even she's an anomaly.

    My own father was was one year too young for the Vietnam draft. Since he is so close to that age (& my mom is a year older), a lot of people have asked me over the years if my dad was in the war.

  3. Buendia Says:

    It is interesting how it all works out! I do have a friend that was in special forces in Afghanistan - he is a very awesome dad and a crazy guy! I have also paused to remember... We do the same on Nov. 11 (the day they reflect in Europe and Canada).

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    I had to do some checking, but 3 of 4 of our grandfathers served in WWII. (The other was not eligible due to an injury). & my dad corrected me. He would have been drafted but he had a college deferment. He said he got by, by the skin of his teeth. I guess given the age of our parents and grandparents, they had to be very lucky for us to even be here.

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