Memorial Day Remembrance

For those of us who are veterans of a foreign war but did not engage in actual battle feel a little uneasy when they are recognizing us for our previous participation.  The closest I came to battle was being on a Navy ship off the coast when we had an alert that planes were headed our way.  I was a radio operator on a destroyer and sat with ear phones listening to what might be occurring.  The planes were intercepted and nothing ever happened. 

However, there are service men who actually lived daily, facing an enemy and wondering if this would be their last day alive. I listened to stories from those who participated in battle that scared the pants off of me. I heard stories of what it was like sitting in a fox hole and being shot at; then given an order to advance against an enemy that was out there but they couldn’t see.    

I have heard stores from nine of my older cousins that fought in World War II.  My grandfather was a farmer/preacher who was a real prayer warrior.  He prayed constantly for his grandsons.  One day he told our relatives not to worry that God assured him that all his grandsons were coming home alive.  There was not a doubt in his mind that God had answered his prayers. 

One of my cousins was a Navy fighter pilot and had flown 112 missions in the south pacific.  On one occasion, returning back to base, his engine quit and he crashed on the shore of a small island.  He was knocked unconscious and the plane was on fire.  A member of his squadron saw what had happened and landed his plane on the beach.  He ran over and pulled him out saving his life.  A short time later a PBY seaplane landed.  He was brought to the plane on a raft.  He became a minister until his retirement.

My cousin Jim had two liberty ships sunk and had to swim until help arrived.  My cousin Lee was a corpsman.  He was involved in the invasion of Iwo Jima.  The doctor and crew Jim was with returned to the ship.  Jim had to take another boat back to the ship.  His crew’s boat was blown up and all were killed.  Normally he would have been in the same boat.

My cousin Floyd belonged to General Patton’s tank division.  He was a point man directing the tanks against the enemy.  They would drive a jeep to the enemy lines.  They then would go on foot, scout out the enemy and advise the tanks which direction to go.  The life expectancy for men performing this job was less than thirty days.  He went with Patton through Africa, Italy and into Germany.

Each of my cousins had similar stories to tell.  My uncles and aunts seemed to know when they needed to pray for a certain cousin.  Later, they found out that the times they were led to pray were the times my cousins were facing serious situations.   My aunt tells of a time when she just felt the need to go to her knees and pray for her son.  It was when his ship had been hit and a number of his crew was killed.  Their ship limped into port. 

Every Memorial Day at church, veterans are asked to stand and be recognized.  It has been somewhat of an embarrassing time for me realizing what so many went through and how little I had participated.  But most people have no idea what some of our veterans have gone through.  They were willing to give their lives for their country if needed and millions have.  They are the ones who deserve our recognition.

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1 Comment

  1. Di

     /  May 30, 2011

    It takes a TEAM to do most things in life. Even thou there are soldiers who never faced direct danger…if they weren’t there to do their job, the system, project or goals wouldn’t work. So, for you & those of you who have jobs that seemed less important…think again. I myself have been in charge of putting on church programs. It’s takes many people to help me do just that. I have found that the people who set up the stage or pass out the programs are as important & needed as the singers & actors to make the entire program a success. To all our service men & women…I thank you & you should be proud of whatever job you do for us. God Bless you all!!!


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