I wanted to take a few minutes to thank all of those who are serving and have served our nation in the armed services. My dad was a Marine and my uncle was an Air Force pilot (WWII) and my nephew is currently serving in the Army. There were quite a number of other military men and two women in my family's history.
My mother was very patriotic. She loved movies about WWII. I think she watched Kelly's Heroes about a hundred times. She was raising two little girls while my dad was off serving our country. She was only about 24 at the time. Times were tough but she scrimped and saved and did her part to help the war effort. Mom was a song writer and in 1945 she sang one of her songs on a radio show called "That's My Tune" on WGST in Atlanta. The song she chose was "My Bill, USMC." Part of it goes like this, "My Bill, USMC, though he gets his mail as Sgt. William. He's Bill, sweet as can be, the year that he's been gone seems like a million. He writes me every night...." Sounds kind of corny but a lot of what they were writing in the 40's sounds corny to us now. Anyway, it has a beautiful melody and I'm partial to it since it was about my dad. He literally did write her every night. I have all of the letters. They are tied up in ribbons and stashed in my dad's "foot locker" that was issued by the Marine Corps. It holds all of my mom's poetry, her songs and other odds and ends of hers and my dad's that came to me as the official family historian.
Anyway, I guess you wonder why I'm spending so much time writing about my mother, who was not a veteran, on a day that is set aside to honor veterans. Veteran's Day was always special to my mom. When I was a little girl, we would watch old patriotic movies together and she would tell me about how she felt when she heard the news about Pearl Harbor being attacked, about all the things that were rationed, how difficult it was to have her husband so far away for so long, the different projects to support the troops and buying war bonds. It was a time when women had to step up to the plate and do things they were not accustomed to doing. She taught me that serving this country and protecting our freedom is an honor and a duty.
So, for me Veteran's Day is not only about the brave veterans who have died serving our country and those who were willing to put their lives on the line for our freedom, but also the women and men who supported them back home and especially my mom.
Veteran's Day holds an even more important place in my heart because ironically and appropriately Veteran's Day, 2006, was the day my mom left this world. Mom, thanks for teaching me how important it is to care about our country and the men and women who serve it.
My Dad, Marine WWII
Cousin Dot, Waves WWII
Uncle George, Air Force Pilot, WWII
Grandfather George, Georgia National Guard, Border Patrol, Fort Bliss, TX 1916
Great Uncle John, Navy, WWI
Last But Not Least, My Mom circa 1944