Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial

Reposted from 2008:

Please take a minute and 22 seconds to watch this clip. It contains some of my Uncle Bob's Memorial Service at Arlington National Cemetery in September 2006, and if you have never visited there, you should make an effort to go. Begun in Mrs. Robert E. Lee's rose garden during the Civil War, the 624 acre cemetery now contains the remains of soldiers and veterans from every American war. There is currently a five month wait to have a service at Arlington because of the wars in Iraq and Afganistan.

video

My Uncle Bob was a West Pointer. Class of 1945.

My Father Babe was a cadet, too. Class of 1946. He served in Korea and in Vietnam, and died in 1986. His doctors attributed his untimely death due to the amount of the herbicides and defoliants he was exposed to during his three tours of duty in Vietnam.

You may remember that I wrote about my mother's brother, Uncle Y in April. Please take a moment today to reflect on the courage and valor of all our armed forces. Past, present and future.

The entire time my father and Uncle Bob were students at West Point, their father, my grandfather, was a prisoner of war. By some twist of fate he was the highest ranking artillery officer during the Death March of Bataan in 1942, and remained a prisoner of the Japanese for the remainder of World War II. I have many of the letters and papers that belonged to my grandparents from this time, and among them is the following poem in my grandmother's hand, with the date May 21, 1942. He would have been in the POW camp at this point, and much communication was done via HAM radio; those who received messages, would send them on to the family members across the country. My grandmother Sugar had several messages from my grandfather sent to her this way. Many of them contained parts of this poem.

To Myrtle R. an Army Wife

Down East in USA
We have a message for you please - It came by Milky Way.
From prison camp in far Luzon the mystic message came,
Your husband is alive and well, and loves you just the same.
He held a post of high command with record brave and true.
He was faithful to his duty as he's ever been to you.
The soldier has no choice of time when country names the day.
The soldier has no choice of goals when duty points the way.
Such things are right and understood by army wives like you.
When soldiers drink the bitter cup, their wives must drink it too.
His isolation is complete by land and sea and air.
His only means of reaching you are thoughts and wish and prayer.
But Trans-Celestial ways are clear on starry nights in May.
The nights can turn some magic tricks that can't be done by day.
The crescent moon a wishing ship that sails a trackless blue,
Has brought the news of "Life and Hope" direct from him to you.
The charge is just a happy smile so dry your tears away,
And keep tuned in for later news the same time every day.
This message ends the usual way, your husband's words you hear.
"With Love and Kisses" for you all,
He ends it--Myrtle Dear.

I hope you'll join me in honoring all our military men and women everywhere today, and always.

Be Thou At Peace.

25 comments:

Ann from Montana said...

That is a beautiful clip as well as a wonderful post - the right start to Memorial Day and a wonderful tribute to all who have paid the ultimate price and those who have served - to whom I am forever grateful.

WORKING MOM said...

Thank you for sharing that clip, and the stories of your father, grandfather and uncle. Those are the men that have kept us safe through out the years.

Today our town does a parade and a memorial service which we will be attending.

Debbie in NC said...

Oh MP, hon you've outdone yourself here and brought tears to my eyes. This is beautiful and an absolute perfect tribute to honor our men and women who have served their country proudly!

I am going to put a link on the AF Mom's & Dad's group to your post...

(((BIG HUGS)))

Flash Stitcher said...

What a beautiful video, thank you for sharing.

Thank you to all who have kept us free and continue to keep us free.

Those who have lost their freedom in the quest for ours.

Mama, to your family who served and those who stayed home waiting and to my Dad, one hell of a Flyboy...and his Rosie.
Thank you.

TSannie said...

Tears of gratitude.

Daryl said...

Okay twice in one post I got fa-klempt. This is just the perfect way to start my day... thank you .. and I thank all those who serve/served and their families .. Bush and the war suck big time but these kids deserve our praise, thanks and support

:-Daryl

Bear Naked said...

Thank you for sharing your familys' history with me.

Lea said...

Here's to my father, who rarely spoke of his service to our country.

Thank you for sharing that moving tribute this Memorial day.

Country Girl said...

Beautiful tribute. Peace to you on this day, and always.

I am just so touched.

Treasia said...

Beautiful and brought a tear to my eyes. Thank you for sharing all and reminding me of what Memorial Day is all about.

noble pig said...

OMGosh it's beautiful. Thank you for your families service. It will not be forgotten.

Asthmagirl said...

What a lovely clip and poem. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

what a wonderful reminder that FREEdom is not FREE... Thank you for the lovely post...as a person who comes from history (both adoptive and biological) of defenders of our freedoms I so appreciate all that they have done and will continue to do,
Love hugs and a prayer.
Laura

J said...
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J said...
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Christine said...

Beautiful!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

My grandfather was a West Point graduate, although earlier than 1945, and he always proclaimed that he'd be buried at Arlington.

Then, when my grandmother died before him and was buried in the cemetery across the creek from where we live, he changed his mind.

He always downplayed his service to his country, even though it was great. And he gave up the burial at Arlington to be close to his wife.

Thanks for bringing back a memory I had completely forgotten.

And thanks for focusing on what is important today.

Flea said...

That was beautiful, MPM. Thank you for the reminder of what today stands for. Thank you to all of the men and women who have served our nation so valiantly.

Lisa J said...

THANK YOU! Enough said.

Snooty Primadona said...

Okay, I guess I needed a good cry. Was that not the most special generation ever? Your family has a good, solid history and you're so right to be proud.

And that poem! How wonderful that he could keep himself (and her) sane with his beautiful messages. Magical, really.

dlyn said...

A wonderful post - a good family legacy :)

Egghead said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing and reminding me to be thankful for the service your family members as well as mine and others have provided us.

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Bluebird49 said...

My gosh, Lauren--what a beautiful, timely post! You're so fortunate to know so much about your family's rich history in our country's service. Gee-I'd love to see some of the letters and papers--I love that kind of thing.

Reading letters an old, old friend of ours wrote home to his mom about the girl he planned to marry when he came home (and did!), just made me weep. He was in Egypt during WWII--and the pictures of him on a camel and with the Great Pyramid behind him is out of this world.
God bless our soldiers--the living and the dead--for we would not be here without them.
I always get weepy when I hear Taps.

Grandma J said...

Continue to post this every year! I love every bit of it, and especially the poem which was beyond beautiful.