"Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."
- Star Spangled Banner
Two nights ago, our little ones asked what Veteran's Day was. They knew it was a blissful day off from school for sure, but not what the occasion marked. The conversation continued through yesterday when both our 8YO and 4YO asked more about it while we were in the car. We explained, they nodded, and then our 4YOU blurted out, "I see a white van!" (sigh.....)
My last Veteran's Day post was from 2012, which was short and sweet. This year I say a quiet thank you to my two grandfathers for their service in the Army Air Corp.
Everett Howard Swann (left) 1918-1975 - Arthur Wayne Schofield (right) 1922-2013
Recently, my aunt discovered some letters from my great uncle to his parents, sent home during WWII in 1942. This was a beloved brother, son, and husband, who joined the service in an answer to his country's call. It was a terrible time of war (and is reflected in some of his language). I consider the time and circumstance of a nation at war. My great uncle Fred was killed while in service, and never made it home. That makes it hard to read the line, "I can't say where I have been but will tell you one of these days when I get back." I stumbled across the article to the right some time ago that features both brothers AND their father enlisted at the same time. As my grandfather put it, "It's just something we all felt that we needed to do." I admire the snapshot we get from great uncle Fred's letter. Love for his wife, respect for his father, and a love for his country. Below is the letter transcribed from the letter photocopied and sent to me. I never knew my great uncle, but this little piece of him survived and ties me to him, even if a little bit more.
|June 20, 1942
Dear Mother and Dad,
Gosh it sure was swell to hear from you. I received your Christmas card and letter and was sure happy to receive them. It gets so darn lonesome over here without my adorable wife. I sure do miss her. But I guess a fellow would miss a person a awful lot if he loved his wife as much as I do.
Well pop I guess I have seen some of the places you have seen. At the present time I am in Australia, + I am now in non-combat zone and so things are pretty quiet. I can't say where I have been but will tell you one of these days when I get back.
You know those Japs are sure poor shots. They never did hit anything when they did their bombing. I think I could do better with my eyes closed than those slant-eyed so & so can with their eyes open. The good old U.S. Air Force are sure raising hell --- with the Japs though. The boys fly over their targets then come back and tell us how they sure made things hot for all Nipon [Nippon]. You know I don't see why those Japs don't quit because they sure bit off more than they can chew when they picked on the good old U.S.A.
Gosh I never in my whole life realized what the United States meant to me until I left to come over here. It is the most wonderful place in the whole world. I heard the National Anthem played the other day and it reminded me of the States and sent chills up + down my spine I thought what a wonderful country I live in. I imagine you can understand how I feel pop being you were away from the States.
You know Australia is somewhat like the States even though it is 20 years behind us. The climate is a lot the same though they haven't the snow like we have in the States.
Well it is 11:30 so I guess it is time to go to bed so will close now till my next letter.
Well good night,
So celebrate Veteran's Day by having some time off if you're able, and remember those who serve and have served our country to defend our freedoms.