Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In Remembrance

What is Veterans Day? Originally called Armistice Day to commemorate cessation of fighting between the Allied Forces and Germany, it was later named Veterans Day and set aside on November 11th of each year as a day of celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

The History Channel is running a special on the Vietnam War this week. This is the war that plays most prominently in my mind. It is my generation's war. It is the war I saw broadcast nightly with my dad. It is the war that killed men from my generation. It is brought to my mind when I listen to my sixties station. I plan to watch the program.

Descent down the side of Hill 742, northwest
of Dak To November 14-17, 1967

November 28th, 1967
Prepare to sing a hymn during church services.

Yet, beginning with my grandparents, each generation has been affected by warfare.

Until I ran across the photos found in the Great War Primary Document Archive: Photos of the Great War, I didn't understand the true meaning of a World War. Looking through the pages and pages of photos, I see more nations fighting than I even knew existed. And yet this "war to end all wars" did not end all wars.
World War I troops on the march.
My parents generation were most affected by World War II. A Tom Hanks movie I love and may watch again Friday night is Saving Private Ryan. Their depiction of the troops arrival on Omaha Beach appears painfully realistic. Although I had always heard of D-Day, I found the actual definition interesting. Link here for full explanation of D-Day and Link here for photographs WWII through Gulf War

Omaha Beach June 6, 1944
Survivors reach beach by lifeboat
Photographer Weintraub SC190366

GI's who have landed on the Northern
coast of France during the early stages
of D-Day man a life line to help other
Americans approaching the beach in a
swamped landing craft
12 June 1944 Photo by Weintraub. SC238439

Besieged for 10 days
Moving out of Bastogne
December 31, 1944 

Luxembourg field scouting mission
December 30, 1944
Bedsheets used as camouflage in snow

When looking at these photos, it is easy to see how brutally cold it was,  as expressed by my cousin's father in law, Albert Henry, regarding his service at the Battle of the Bulge. The troops were ill equipped to endure the worst winter in the history of the region. He always found it difficult to tolerate the cold even after his return home.

I was born when the Korean Conflict (it looked like a war to me) was in full force. Daddy was already married with a child on the way so he was not drafted. My Uncle Jack was drafted and served in Korea. In my mind I had pictured Korea as a tropical region. I was sadly mistaken for he too remembers and speaks of the harsh winter.

Link here for more on the Korean Conflict

SC398703 - A 4.2 inch mortar crew of Heavy Mortar Company,
179th Regiment, 45th U.S. Infantry Division, fires on Communist
positions, West of Chorwon, Korea. 5 May 1952. Korea
Signal Corps Photo #10-296-1/FEC-52-13339 (Kassal)

Lieutenant Colonel Leon B. Humphrey, CO 213th
Field Artillery Battalion, U.S. Eighth Army pulls the
lanyard on "north east gun" of Battery A, 213th Field
Artillery Battalion, to send the 100,000th round of
ammunition fired by the 213th at Chinese Communist
positions. 11 January 1952. Korea
Signal Corps Photo #1-2481-9/FEC-52-4036 (Doyle)

And it continues on with my children's generation in the Middle East. 

Will my grandchildren be directly affected by a war? How many grandmothers before me have prayed for their grandchildren's protection?


  1. Excellent post. My father was a WWII soldier. War is never easy, but the soldiers from earlier wars fought in some brutal conditions without the benefit of modern warfare equipment. We owe all our soldiers a debt of gratitude.

  2. This was a wonderful post and tribute to those who have fought in three of our wars...and I see additional posts "above" that I want to take the time to read and comment on. It is now almost 1 am, and I will end here, though, for tonight and get back to you....But, I am always impressed when someone takes the time to research and go into depth about something that is important and I want to thank you for that.

    I also want to thank you for your comment on my own Veteran's Day post. All my best--