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Memorial Day 2021

Instead of me giving you a history lesson on Memorial Day, I am going to ask you who do you honor on this day?

I honor my father, who was a company clerk under General George Patton in North Africa.

I also honor an uncle who was a pilot in WWII and another uncle who served in the Korean War.  Until the day he passed, he refused to eat rice of any kind after returning home from Korea.

One more person to honor, my mother who worked at the Willow Run facility, helping build airplanes.

May they all rest in peace knowing they served their country proudly.

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Comments

dougie's avatar

I honor one of my best friends, an F4 pilot in Nam. We spent many late nights visiting the Wall, listening to him speak of the guilt he carries to this day, having dropped bombs that took 400 lives one night in particular. How weird it felt receiving a medal for having done so. These days, we just go see live music together as often as possible. I saw that war destroy so many, after the fact. I celebrate that my friend was not one of them.

I honor my friend, related by marriage, retired from the Corps. He is 60 now, just as mellow as can be, but he was a Drill Instructor at Parris Island.

Posted by dougie on 05/31/21 at 09:37 AM ET

SYF's avatar

My grandfather.  He was a saboteur blowing up Japanese supply lines all over Mindanao, Philippines before he was captured and beaten up by the Japanese.  He was let go because the Japanese camp commander went to school with my great grandfather and they were best friends before the war.  My grandfather lived in the hellish mountains of central Mindanao hiding with the Moros - Islamic tribal warriors until the end of the war.

He never talked about it, but the people who told the stories were indebted to him for embodying the Filipino spirit of fierce independence.That man is everything to me.

Happy and Blessed Memorial Day to all who gave all. 

God Bless America.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 05/31/21 at 01:54 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I honor my Uncle Ted, who served in an anti-aircraft battery during WW II. He was first stationed in London and then was redeplyed to the continent after D-Day, arriving at Bastonge just after the Battle of the Bulge. The carnage he saw there left a lasting imprint on him.

My grandfather lived in the hellish mountains of central Mindanao hiding with the Moros - Islamic tribal warriors until the end of the war.

John Wayne’s movie “Back to Bataan” has always been a favorite of mine. But I suspect even their attempt to make it “realistic” pales in comparison to what your grandfather’s experience was actually like.

Until the day he passed, he refused to eat rice of any kind after returning home from Korea.

I certainly get it, given the fact that it probably was all he had to eat on many occasions. For me, after the 13 months I spent in Korea (1970-71), I came away loving rice – and the Korean people. A different time, and a completely different experience.

I entered the Army in 1969 as a military conscientious objector because of my adamant opposition to the Vietnam War. I left the Army two years later with a profound respect for the sacrifices made by all who serve or have served their country whether as a volunteer or a draftee. And that’s especially true for those who paid the ultimate price for their service.

God bless them all – and God bless America.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/31/21 at 02:32 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Thanks to all for sharing, very moving tributes.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/31/21 at 02:37 PM ET

SYF's avatar

John Wayne’s movie “Back to Bataan” has always been a favorite of mine. But I suspect even their attempt to make it “realistic” pales in comparison to what your grandfather’s experience was actually like.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/31/21 at 02:32 PM ET

The densest vegetation.  Vampiric creepy crawlies the size of your thumb.  Poisonous snakes and lizards.  And those are just the tame parts of Mindanao.  The only reason why the Moros (who could have killed my grandfather and his emerging family just for being Catholics) tolerated him was because he planned and built roads for them making commerce available between other Moros tribes.  After the war when he finally moved back to Manila, they told him they’re not going to remember him.  He said, “Fine,” and went away.  They don’t owe him anything and he didn’t lose any sleep over it.

Salutes to your Uncle Ted and you, OTC.  Thank you.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 05/31/21 at 02:47 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

They don’t owe him anything and he didn’t lose any sleep over it.

Posted by SYF

That’s because he didn’t expect any “reward” – just like the millions who’ve served in batte zones throughout history. Most did it because they loved their country enough to sacrifice anything to protect it.

Your grandfather was one of the many heroes of the Philippine nation, SYF. Even those of us who aren’t Filipino recognize and honor that.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/31/21 at 03:13 PM ET

Avatar

impressive family lineage paul.

re:” One more person to honor, my mother who worked at the Willow Run facility, helping build airplanes.”

spent the summer of 02 in some of those remaining hangars on an industrial rework, thinking about the good folks like your mom who persevered for the good of the free world.

we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

Posted by rickytarr on 05/31/21 at 03:44 PM ET

Paul's avatar

One thing I find amazing with all these memories, the greatest generation never talked about their experiences.

I did not know what my Dad experienced until after he died, then the stories came out.  One of them serving under Patton.  Boy, would I have had the questions.

One story I heard and I believe I told it here in the past, but a local was selling cigarettes to the allies, saying he would be right back after collecting their money, he never came back.

Patton caught wind of this, ordered men to find out where the guy lived.  When not at home, he ordered a tank to approach the house and five minutes later, the house was gone.

They served, came home and got on with their lives.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/31/21 at 03:55 PM ET

Avatar

Everybody who stepped to truly defend this country
in times of true need. And everybody who was sent into bad situations, ordered into
no win situations and did their best. It’s a hell of a thing to have zero control over the political decisions, the civilian decisions way above you, and be sent halfway around the world on behalf of an entire country.

And my grandpa who enlisted way over age, in spite of having a young family, to help manage logistics in London during the Blitz.

Posted by lefty.30 on 05/31/21 at 04:04 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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