I feel very blessed to have these things of my grandfathers. His army hats, badges, a medal, his army bag and even the little book with prayers and the Star Spangled Banner, which all army men carried in their coat pocket. I even have the little sewing kit he would have carried during WWII.
My grandfather and so many of my great uncles fought in the war. My grandmother was pregnant with my mom when my grandfather left for France. It would be two years before he would meet his baby girl, my mother. In fact, my grandmother had received word that my grandfather had been killed. She had also received word that her brother, Ed had been killed. Her sister-in-law was pregnant at the time and their only son, Bo would never meet his dad.
My grandfather did survive the war and came home to everyone's elated surprise. He lived to be 89 years old, and I often enjoyed hearing his 'war stories.' I could listen to him for hours!
My mother, an only child, passed away fourteen years ago. Her parents were still living and suffered terribly at the loss of their only child. Eventually, they would move to my town to be cared for and would live until they were almost ninety years old.
Upon their deaths, I found letters, lots and lots of letters. Many of the letters were from my grandfather to my grandmother during the war. There were also a substantial number of letters written from my great uncle Ed to his mother (my great-grandmother) and to his sister (my grandmother) about the little boy he hoped to return home to and teach to play ball. The little boy was my uncle Bo. I didn't know him very well, as he lived far away. I packed the letters and took them to my grandmother's funeral, in the hopes that he would be there and I could pass them along. They were so touching of a father, killed during battle, wanting to meet his son; this son who now stood before me in his sixties. He cried as he read the letters from a father he never knew.
War and the price for freedom...A gift to so many, yet a heartbreak to this grown man. A life of never knowing his father. These letters meant the world to him.
Happy Memorial Day and thank you to all who fight for our freedom and to all who have loved ones who have died in battle.