Thinking about Memorial Day and my father-in-law

I know Memorial Day is to honor soldiers who have fallen in battle. We owe a lot to those great men and women and their families. I am awed by their commitment to their country.

Our family knows a lot of men who are serving now or have served but I don’t think I personally know any who have died in action – thank goodness! One of the boys I went to high school with is now performing dangerous ops overseas. He has been in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan and other dangerous areas. He has a small child, and I think about his family often. I worry for them.

We spent the weekend with my father-in-law who served 29 years in the U.S. Army. He was a Green Beret, jumped from planes and eventually worked his way up to Warrant Officer. He is one tough man, and I do admire his bravery and strength.

Share with us your stories about soldiers you know — family or friends.

On other notes:

Parents can register their children ages 7 – 12 for the Peachtree Jr., which is a non-competitive 3K run in Piedmont Park, taking place on Saturday May 30 at 9:00 a.m.  Deadline for registration is May 26, but there are still about 100 slots open. Registration fee is $15 per child. Log on here for more information: ajc.com/peachtree.

Also be sure to check us out tomorrow for a big, big contest! We are giving away tickets to a FOOD NETWORK viewing party and other great prizes! (They won’t let me enter, and I am bummed!)

17 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

May 25th, 2009
10:04 am

When we were first married, my husband was in the Navy. An officer we knew was flying a routine mission out west and in the mountains. His plane crashed somewhere and they never ( to our knowledge) recovered his body. I was pregnant with our son who is now almost 22 and each year, I think of how painful that must have been for his parents ( and fiance). Mike…I think of you every Memorial Day and every time I pledge to the flag or sing the national anthem…thank you and the many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest of us can relax today and enjoy a cook out….many not even realizing what the holiday is about.

I also thank my Father in law who served during Viet Nam in the Navy and then eventually retired from the Air Force, The war had a strong impact on his life but he served so that we could enjoy our freedom.

Disagreements abound but our country is what it is because of those who were willing to make sacrifices both temporary and eternal. My hat is off to you.

deidre_NC

May 25th, 2009
11:20 am

well said mjg-about the only thing that is guarenteed to get me teary eyed is military personell, and retired vets. i see them a lot where i work and it just swells my heart. i have several family members and friends of my kids who are in the service and i cant thank them enough for what they are there for. it doesnt matter whether or not i believe in what our country is doing-these men and women are risking or will be their lives for us. i know some go into the services so they can get an education they may not otherwise be able to get-but still they are taking a huge chance of never getting out to get that education. i am proud of our girls and guys who serve this country-expecially these days when it is so dangerous on so many fronts. i hope that people remember that today is not just a day to party and get drunk but also to remember the ones who dies so that they can party and get drunk!

catlady

May 25th, 2009
2:01 pm

Teresa, I posted this on another blog today.

My dad, captured in the Battle of the Bulge, never talked about his service, either, at least to me. Till the day he died (I was in my late 40s) I was “too young” to hear about it. I got bits from my mother and saw the way he suffered. He was in an offlag (like a stalag but for officers) and the skin on his feet froze, among other problems. He suffered for the rest of his life. He DID, however, watch and read all the things about the Battle, to see if anyone got it right, I guess. He escaped in the spring and 2 days later Patton came though and liberated the camp.

His group built bridges for Patton. He told my mom, after they saw the movie “Patton” and she was appalled at the language, that Patton did not talk like that. He was much filthier.

I asked him how he could be in the engineering corps since he did not go to college until after the war. Didn’t they have any standards for who could be an engineer? He said, “no”, to which I asked, “Well, why didn’t they get Georgia Tech graduates if there were no real standards?” Hehahe. He loved it because after the war he went to Duke and got a BSEE in 3 years. They had quite a rivalry with Tech. I have letters the family sent him that were returned where they enclosed shaving razors for him–the only kind of care package possible, I guess.

The family had been told he was MIA, presumed dead, and got a telegraph a few days after Christmas saying he was alive but captured and my grandmother said, “Thank God.”

I think of my granddad, who was in France in WWI when my dad was born. In fact, I have a fill in the blank army postcard, stamped 1919, that he wrote my grandma the day my dad was born (of course he didn’t know). It is a treasure to me.

My dad, a 2000s type dad in the 1950s, would recite poetry by my bed at night. “Flanders Fields” was one of the favorites: In Flanders Fields the poppies grow between the crosses, row on row….

Thank you to all who have served, all who serve now, and those who will serve in the future. Let their service be in peace.

FCM

May 25th, 2009
4:15 pm

The kids’ paternal great-grandfather was a German POW during WWII. His plane was shot down. He survived but was about 90 lbs when he left the camp. My Great Uncle was career Army and is buried at Ft. Knox. My Grandfather served as a radio operator on a Navy Destroyer in the Pacific. His brother was infantry. All of the above survived WWII.

Very dear friends of my family (my parents’ generation) were career military. Most of whom have retired (and some gone on to glory). I am thankful to know these men (and their wives).

From my generation, I celebrated the return of many of my friends from The Gulf War (Bush I). Most of whom worked in Special Ops situations. As one once said “by the time you hear there is a problem I am already gone!”

Currently, the children’s dad is serving in the military. He spent a year in Iraq but has been stateside since the fall. He called today.

The children (and I) have a great deal to be thankful for today.

FCM

May 25th, 2009
4:19 pm

er I meant he was in a German camp as a POW…..

fk

May 25th, 2009
8:06 pm

My dad served during WW2 and Korea. He was an officer in the US Army and a tank commander. He was stationed out of Fort Hood, TX, but spent time in Fort Knox, too. He fought in Italy, Germany and was in England, too. He will turn 90 in June.

His buddy, who he met in the service, met his wife, a volunteer for the American Red Cross, while they were in England. After the war, my dad and his friends went their separate ways. My dad went back to NYC and eventually met my mom. His buddy and his wife wound up in CA. They stayed in touch, but not the way people do today.

Ironically, both my dad and his buddy were called back into service during Korea. They had no idea they were both going back to the same place at the same time, and met up in Fort Hood, again. My mother and his buddy’s wife became lifelong friends, just like their husbands. After their service stints, my parents returned to NY, and their friends to CA.

Pat and Jack called every Thanksgiving. They never knew which kid answered the phone (I have nine siblings), but we always knew who Pat and Jack were. My parents did not see Pat and Jack for almost 30 years. In 1981, Pat and Jack drove across the country. We were all so very excited to finally meet them. Actually, my 2nd oldest brother met them in CA, on his way to Okinawa, during the Vietnam War. He was a Marine. Then, in the mid 80s, my oldest brother was transferred to the midwest. Again, the awesome foursome met up, each traveling 1/2 way. Then, my brother was transferred to CA, and they got to visit with their friends again. All in all, during those six years, they saw each other four times. Sadly, Jack passed away in 1987.

My nephew is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He will be deployed at the end of this year. My niece’s husband, also a USMA grad, served in Korea and then in Afghanistan. His buddy lost both of his legs in Iraq. We are very thankful to everyone who has served this great country, regardless of the era, and keep them and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

the real OLD GOLD

May 25th, 2009
8:22 pm

1/108th AR (GA Army National Guard) lost the following men while we were in Iraq in 2005-2006:

SGT Michael J. Stokely
SPC Joshua P. Dingler
SGT Paul A. Saylor
SGT Thomas J. Strickland
SSG George R. Draughn, Jr.
SFC Robert Hollar, Jr.

Scouts Out.

Hellinahandbasket

May 25th, 2009
9:11 pm

As the mother of two Army soldiers I cannot tell you the heartache and worry my family endures everyday. The feeling of helplessness when I hear the pain in my son’s voice on a call from outside of Baghdad as he recalls the violence he sees but cannot fathom. One son’s enlistment is soon over and the relief we feel and the burden that is lifted from us is so wonderful there are no words to express it. He is now in the States and safe. But the other son just home from Iraq will be deploying once again so our year long time of worry, fear and missing him will start over too soon. I would urge all people to understand that the families pay a very high price to have soldiers as family members, not as much as the soldiers pay but still the stress of rarily hearing from their loved ones coupled with the daily reports of yet another soldiers death in a bombing or sniper attack weighs heavy on our minds. Then there is the guilt….when we read of another attack in Baghdad and the names are not released and we wait, fearful we will hear our son’s name and praying that we won’t and then when we don’t feeling such relief but that relief is followed by guilt that we are relieved knowing that some other family is suffering a loss greater than they can bear. When our son’s joined the Army we knew it would be difficult for them but we never realized just how difficult and how life changing it would be for all of us. We are so proud of our son’s, they have chosen a path that few do, it isn’t a path for the selfish or weak. They have to put the rights of others in this country, even those who protest against them, even those who disrespect ahead of themselves. They did not know all that they signed on for but they have to live in sub standard conditions, endure sleep and food deprivation, extreme temperatures, constant paranoia, fear and dangerous situations. All our soldiers, from the past and present have had to endure all that with little support and less respect. And these are mere boys (and now girls)who going in wide eyed and innocent but emerge very differently. I see how they, veterans and active duty alike by the Army, the disrespect is not just from the anti-war protesters but from the very institution that swears by the Army Creed. They are denied promised medical and psychological care, told they are scumbags if they have problems dealing with what they experience. They are promised bonuses, MOS’s etc. then denied them when the time comes. Their job is a thankless one, they are paid little with fewer benefits than the Army brags that it gives them, the Army always denying when it can and I often wonder why…they enlist and endure because these are men and women who carry within them courage and character that so few have anymore. Every time I see a soldier I know what his and his family is experiencing to some degree and I think they deserve respect and admiration without limit. They are fallible human beings but they are the best of the best despite the roadblocks the Army or those against them throw up, ask them and they will tell you that they are just doing their job. These men and women who have endured much and sacrificed so much more deserve our praise and support, so on this Memorial Day I want to personally than them all and tell them to Stay safe, stay well and come home soon.

motherjanegoose

May 25th, 2009
9:35 pm

Hellinahandbasket…thank you so much for sharing what many do not know. It sickens me to see those at the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport who will not stand , in appreciation, when the troops walk by.

My husband spent 4 years enlisted and 4 years in reserves.

Most of those who live here in the metro Atlanta area have NO idea what kind of life they enjoy at the expense of those who fight for our freedoms. I visit many areas that have large military populations and it is a true wake up call that the entire family has invested in the lives of those who are protecting MANY who do not care.

THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. I did not grow up in a family that cared about the military but I married into a military family and my respect multiplied 1000 times!

I never feared for my husband’s life but knew those who faced this fear every day. God Bless You!

Hellinahandbasket

May 26th, 2009
1:30 am

Thank you ‘motherjanegoose’ for your wonderful words of support, without people like you the days become almost unbearable & the nights even worse. Thank you to you and your family for your service and sacrifice, even though your husband may not have been in ‘danger’ there was always that possibility. The commitment your husband and you made to the military was a heavy burden, one I am sure you all bore with pride and honor. Thank you again for your kind words.

MrLiberty

May 26th, 2009
1:48 am

So long as mothers continue to think that military service on behalf of the empire in its unlawful wars against foreign enemies is a good thing, mothers will continue to mourne the loss of their precious children on memorial day. Someday they will wake up to discover that all of these wars and the wasted lives of their childrem were all about furthering the ambitions of international bankers and the military industrial complex and had nothing to do with the defense of this nation.

We can all hope and pray that this realization comes sooner than later.

motherjanegoose

May 26th, 2009
7:20 am

MrLiberty…please move somewhere else…where you can find your own Liberty.

Michelle

May 26th, 2009
8:37 am

I agree Mr. Liberty. Where do you think your “Liberty” came from? You sure didn’t earn it!

My husband was a Green Beret (special forces) during the first Gulf War. I did not know him them. He had just enough leave to be home for the birth of his kids, then he was sent back out. He doesn’t really talk much about what he did during that time. Every now and again he’ll make a couple of comments in passing. I’m sure he did and saw things that he NEVER wants to talk about. That is just one price of war.

My ex father-in-law served in the Navy during WWII. My ex husband used to make some anti-american comments. His dad would jump all over him and tell him that we live in greatest country in the world and that he just needed to shut up. I think many people take our freedom for granted since they have lived with it for SO long!

My current father-in-law also served in the Navy. I’m not sure if he was deployed anywhere, but he was a service member!

My brother served in Navy for 13 years, many of which were spent overseas. My step son just joined the National Guard.

I don’t think we could ever express enough gratitude to our armed forces for the work that they do! I am SO proud to say I live in America! Without the strenght and courage of those that fought for our freedom, I doubt we would be sitting her typing on this blog!

And Mr. Liberty, if you don’t like this county, feel free to find another one to live in!

In Indiana on the 4th of July, they have a “Symphony on the Prairie”. Right before the 1812 overture, they play all the different “theme” songs for each branch of the military and have folks stand that have served. It is AMAZING! I cannot tell you the pride I felt sitting there. It brought tears to my eyes!

I cannot say than you enough to our soldiers!

JJ

May 26th, 2009
9:28 am

I have a friend whose son served a year in Iraq. He has been home for just a little over a year now (Thank goodness). However, to this day, he CANNOT and Will NOT talk about what he had to do and what he saw over there…….he definately came back a changed person……

Becky

May 26th, 2009
9:53 am

Thank you to anyone that has ever served in the military to give me my freedom..

My father served in WWII, my oldest brother was in Nam.. I have a nephew that is in the Air Force and one that is in the Army National Guard..

The nephew that is in the AF, isn’t out in the fields, he is in intelligence (sp) so he’s not as in harms way quiet as much, for which I know my sister is thankful..

So to all that have family in Irag or anywhere away from you, thank you and them for everything..

nurse&mother

May 26th, 2009
10:48 pm

I apologize for chiming in so late.

THANKS TO ALL OUR MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN (past, present and future). This is one gal who is truly appreciative of the sacrifices you all have made so that we can live in a country freely.

I’m not sure that many of us really understand what our lives could be like without these men and women.

Thanks again!

Becky

May 27th, 2009
8:19 am

nurse&mother, love your last sentence…I’m sure of one thing thoug, I don’t want to find out…