Memorial Day Honor, Duty and Sacrifice

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“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
~ President John F. Kennedy

Freedom is never free.  This Memorial Day I want to say thank you to all the men and women who have fought and died, giving the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our country remains free.  And to all the of the soldiers, past and present, thank you for your service, your dedication and the sacrifices you and your families have made on behalf of us, our country and for Freedom.  It’s a day to cherish family and give thanks for the wonderful privilege of living in such a great country. It’s about the honor, duty and sacrifice of so many American families, just like mine.

The year was 1953, the world was still reeling from the end of  World War II, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the newly elected President and the Korean War was being fought.  All young men of that time period were required to register for the military Selective Service; so upon his eighteenth birthday my father dutifully completed his registration card.  Around that same time he also met my mother and they fell in love.  Following a year-long courtship, they were married in February of 1953.  My mother had just turned seventeen and my father was two weeks shy of his nineteenth birthday.

After their first year of marriage they were eager to begin their family and tried desperately to have children.  But that greatly desired child never came.  They continued to hope and pray for a family of their own, but after the third year of trying, they lost hope and decided they were destined to be childless.

In the early part of 1956, my father received his Order to Report for Induction; he had been drafted.  He was to report to the Fort Ord U.S. Army post in Monterey Bay, California for basic training.  My mother was heartbroken.  How was she going to make it without him?  So they did what all young couples in love do when faced with an unwanted separation, they made the best of it.  They spent as much time together as they could until the day came for my father to depart for basic training.  My mother wrote him every day and missed him terribly, so terribly she began to get ill.  It seemed everything she ate made her immediately nauseous.  This went on for a couple of weeks until her family suggested she might be pregnant.  What?  Could this be possible?

A trip to the Doctor confirmed her families suspicions and gave my mother the blessed news; she was in fact pregnant.  Excitedly, she contacted my father in California to relay the news.  They were both overjoyed!  Then reality set in.  She would have to carry and birth this child alone.  The plans they had made for her to come out to California and live in the on-base family housing were dashed.  She was too sick to travel.  Summer turned to fall and my father completed his basic training.  Then he received his orders; he would be deployed to Germany.

Somehow, he was allowed a short leave for Christmas.  My mother was overjoyed to see him one last time before he was shipped out and they spent a glorious Christmas holiday together.  Shortly after Christmas, my father had to returned to his military duty.  The Army allowed him to stay Stateside until my brother Monte was born on January 15, 1957.  My father learned of my brother’s birth via telegram and the next day he was on a plane to New York.  Once he arrived in New York, he boarded a ship and began his trip overseas.

My father was a good soldier and soon was promoted to the position of Military Police or MP.  He and my mother carried on their relationship via mail.  They wrote to each other almost daily.  My father got to know his first born son by reading letters and looking at photographs.  While serving his country, my father missed all of my brothers milestones.  When my brother got his first haircut, my mother tuck a lock of his hair in with the photo and letter she sent to dad.  My brother’s first tooth, first Christmas, first steps and first birthday passed while my father was on patrol in snowy Würzburg, Germany.

My father honorably completed his military assignment and finally returned home to my mother and oldest brother Monte in the Spring of 1958… Nine months later my brother Randy was born.  And a few years later, I came along.

Although my parents made great sacrifices during this difficult time, God poured out his blessings upon their lives.  What seemed like tragedy was actually a gift.  My mother thought she could never have children, but was blessed with three.  And while my father was serving his country, my mother had my oldest brother to love, care for and keep her company.

After 59 years of marriage, my parents are still madly in love with each other.  Our roles are reversed and I now have the honor of caring for them, just as they have cared for me all these years.  I am so thankful my life is at a point where I am able to devote my time to them and truly enjoy our time together.  They are the best parents a child could ever have and I love them dearly!

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26 responses »

  1. A very moving story, Lori.

    It’s unfortunate that, while my and the upcoming generations are schooled about the wars that took place, stories such as the one you shared were not part of our education. This put things into perspective for me. Your parents, both of them, are heroes. I can only imagine the burden of raising a child alone, and the sorrow she must have felt knowing that your father wanted desperately to be at home raising your brother. The price of our freedom was his son’s first moments. May we be exceptionally grateful to him for serving our country nobly.

    If you can, please thank him for me today, and your mom, too.

    Much love to you,
    Cara

    P.S. I emailed you last week regarding the wreath. It should arrive on Tuesday! 😉

  2. I can’t believe I sat here and cried over this story when it has such a positive message. Your parents were so very beautiful and young and still a beautiful couple now. You are an angel to be caring for them. Your story is written so beautifully Lori, and brings the message of thanks to all who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for freedom.

    • You cried! That really touches my heart, Dor. Their love truly is the sweetest thing. They are still affectionate with each other, and are always giving hugs and kisses. ❤

      I will relay your heartfelt appreciation to them. Thank you!

  3. Beautiful story, Lori, and just as beautifully told by you. So grateful for your Dad’s service and for your Mom’s courage and strength as he did. As a veteran and military Momma, I’m so pleased to read your story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Thank you so much for your very kind words of support Pamela. I will relay your message to my parents, and I would also like to say how much I appreciate you and your families incredible sacrifices and devotion to ensure our country remains free.

  4. What an amazing story of love and sacrifices! And surprises which were so deserving of these two people who were so madly in love! You are so right to look after them when they gave their all for their country and for you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and seeing your familiy photos. They seem like such a nice couple. God bless them in their golden years.

  5. Many thanks for your dad’s service; my family has been filled with military service throughout the years and my brother chose to carry this on. He spent last year fighting in Afganistan, but is now home safe. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story!

  6. Thank you for the photos and the history. I follow the example of my father and I’m glad I did. Time in the service can teach you many good and bad things. Make you appreciate family and home,

    • So true John. Thank you for serving our country and for all the sacrifices you and your family made. I look forward to following your blog and learning more about you.

  7. For each veteran there are so many who’ve sacrificed in the shadows. Your mom was one of those. What a beautiful story you shared of your parents…I enjoyed it tremendously. Please make sure they know people appreciate their sacrifices even this long afterwards…

  8. Such a beautiful and poignant story! You were both blessed with a wonderful family and they in turn, were blessed by a loving and caring daughter. 💕

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