Dottie is at work and as I catch up with Monaco and Indy from yesterday I can't help but think of the generations past. My Dad and his enlistment at 17 during WW2; his 2 older brothers, one in the Navy, the other in the Army Air Corps, shot down and hidden by a Belgian farmer to keep him from capture. My Mom's Dad enlisting in the SeaBees because the Navy said he was too old; her Mom's 3 brothers enlisting, one to never come home again, one to die of cancer when I was 2, the 3rd captured and held as a POW in Germany, starved from 180 down to 80 pounds and never in good health again. Grandma and her sisters building B-25 Mitchells in the plant I would later hire into after GM bought it from North American.
Dottie's Dad, unable to enlist because he'd had "yellow jaundice" and you coudln't enlist if you couldn't give blood, giving up the Green Mountains of Vermont to go to Boston and work in the shipyards building sub-chasers and mine-sweepers. Her Mom, Marion, a mechanical engineer hired by Pratt and Whitney to lay out assembly lines and staff them for their various plants.
Marion's Dad, a mechanical engineer as well, enlisting during WW1 and serving in France; I have an aircraft identification book of his from during the "Great War". My Dad's Dad, fresh out of telegraphy school for the railroad, enlisted and sent to join the Signal Corps as a telegrapher in the trenches where he was "gassed". He had heart and lung problems that plagued him for the next 46 years 'til they finally claimed him. His brother, Jesse who served in the Navy during WW1- I have a letter he wrote Grandpa from a VA home in 1962 telling him whatever he did he didn't want to end up there, that the screams at night were horrific. Some of their older siblings were in the Spanish-American War, though our family history gets a bit hazy as it spreads out.
Their grandfather, Hiram, dead of measles contracted during the "War Between the States" in Tennessee in 1864. In the Confederate Army...I know from my Mom's Dad that he had family on the other side of the lines then, though I don't have names to put with it.
On the wall in the house Dottie grew up in in Vermont is the Union Army discharge certificate for her Dad's namesake, his grandfather.
I'm sure for each I know of there are others...I am sure many of you have just as many in your families who have served; some forever!
Please, collect the stories you can, where you can and pass them on to those who will be here when we aren't?
From a Vietnam era sailor married to another Vietnam era sailor; the names, the stories, the sacrifices are too important to let fall away; we can't let this become just another holiday!
May this week be kind to each of you!