Monday, November 11, 2013

A Salute


Today is Veteran's Day.  A day to honor all of those who have served or are serving in the armed forces to protect the freedoms, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in the United States of America.  The sacrifices endured by those who serve are tremendous.  Today, as I do everyday, I salute you!


My Grandfather


My Father

My Nephew getting his Blue Cord pinned by his Father

I am very proud of my family's long history of service to the United States military in times of both peace and war.  Dating all the way back to the American Revolutionary War, my ancestors have fought, and some lost their lives, to protect the freedoms we all so easily take for granted. While we have visions of Sugar Plum Fairies, they have memories of things that would make most of us cringe in fear. 

My grandfather was in the South Pacific fighting in WWII.  He was in his rest period trying to sleep in his tent when enemy forces started bombing them.  The tent next to my grandfather's was rocked by a bomb.  The soldiers, from 18 year olds to middle aged men, who were there resting were all killed.  That was a vision my grandfather never ever forgot.

My grandfather also remembers being part of the first group to arrive at their base in the South Pacific and being greeted by the women there............ all topless.  The commander, horrified, immediately ordered all of the women who would be serving on base to be given shirts.  The women all agreed to wear them and showed up the next day with the shirts on - but holes cut out for their breasts.  My grandfather laughed throughout the rest of his life over that scene.

My father served in the United States Air Force.  He met my mother while "getting jets" in Mobile, Alabama.  He drove a convertible and won her overly immediately.   Who wouldn't want a hot looking guy in a flight suit who drove a convertible?! They were married 6 weeks later just before they were sent overseas for a multi-year stint and celebrated 53 years of marriage this year.  While overseas, our nation experienced a great tragedy:  the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

While most everyone knows how horrified the people of the United States were, they aren't really aware of what that particular act did to our military.  Word immediately spread to my dad's base in England and they were immediately put on the highest level of alert.  My dad called my mother, who recalls those days as if they were yesterday, he said "He's dead. (alert sirens immediately sounded in the background) I'll call you if I'm able.  I love you." and with that my dad hung up the phone.

At that time, my parents had a 2 year old, 1 year old, and a 4 month old and my mother knew that my dad was climbing into his fighter jet, with a full arsenal of weapons and guns strapped on, ready to go to war.  For several days my dad sat in his fighter jet at the end of the runway ready to throttle up his engines and blaze a trail to whatever destination the United States military sent him to destroy.  As much as he wanted to be with his family during this uncertain time, he had a job to do and he had to stay focused on his potential mission.

My mom could not eat or sleep during this time because she knew that if my father was sent into war, there was a good possibility of him being killed in action.  To be in a foreign country having to care for 3 young children, and not show her concern or fear to her children, takes nerves of steel.  To continue caring for their family with her heart in her throat is beyond my comprehension.  But, if you've ever wondered where I get my strength from - my mother and my father are the source.

Earlier this year, my oldest nephew enlisted in the National Guard and graduated basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia.  While going through training, he suffered a painful fracture to his hip but, instead of taking a medical discharge, he pushed through the pain and graduated with his class.  Yes, that young man is tough as nails and is an asset to our country's military and I am honored to have him protect me and represent our country in service.  Obviously, the steel-like strength of my parents, grandparents, and ancestors blood continues to be passed down through the generations.

To all of those who have served, who are serving, and to the families of all of those: May God bless you now and always.

Dear Lord,
Today we honor our veterans,
worthy men and women
who gave their best
when they were called upon
to serve and protect their country.
We pray that you will bless them, Lord,
for their unselfish service
in the continual struggle
to preserve our freedoms, our safety,
and our country’s heritage, for all of us.
Bless them abundantly
for the hardships they faced,
for the sacrifices they made
for their many different contributions
to America’s victories
over tyranny and oppression.
We respect them, we thank them,
we honor them, we are proud of them,
and we pray that you will watch over
these special people
and bless them with peace and happiness.
In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen. ~ Joanna Fuchs


by:  Christie Bielss

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