Monday, May 30, 2011

In Remembrance

My daughters and I were talking this past week about how we miss the "old days," when their father, their grandfather and their uncle were still alive. I loved to listen to them joke around and talk about the good old days and tell tales of their youth. My father-in-law was really special to me. We had many similar interests and the same taste in books. He would often send me a package of books when he was finished reading them. He also loved cryptoquotes, another favorite of mine, and kept index cards from the daily cryptoquote in the newspaper. He was a real family man and loved nothing more than to spend time with his children and grandchildren. My father-in-law was a veteran, but never made it overseas. While his unit was on their way to Europe during World War II he was hospitalized for several months for Tuberculosis, a lung disease that claimed the lives of several of his siblings. Out of nine children, he and a younger brother were the only ones to live past the age of 30. When he recovered he was discharged from the Army and went to college on the GI Bill, becoming a teacher. Not bad for a man with a wife and four young children.

While his father did not make a career out of the military, my late husband did, serving 20 years in the Army. Before he was 30 years old he had already been stationed in Vietnam, Panama, Korea, Germany, and Alaska, and these were not counting the stateside tours. Don was  proud of his 101st Airborne badge and the bronze star that he received for being wounded in action.  He was proud to serve in the Army and proud to wear the uniform. My husband was a spontaneous type of person and with the Internet, was able to contact some former soldiers of the 101st Airborne. He called one veteran late one night, against my cautious, "It's 11 o'clock at night!" He and the other Vietnam vet spoke for over an hour on the phone. Another soldier that he had contacted replied with this email, "Welcome Home, Brother."

I like to think that heaven has a flag-waving welcoming committee for all those who served, and that they are all holding signs that say, "Welcome Home, Brother."


lil red hen said...

How very, very special this is!! We've never had anyone in the armed services except my father-in-law; he served in the Navy for a while when my husband was little.

I've never had a close relationship with either my late father or my father-in-law. I've always wondered how that would feel. So wonderful you had that.

Rita said...

Anita, what a precious post for your husband and your father-in-law. I too loved my father-in-law. He was a very special man. My dad served in the Army for 40 years, my husband in the AirForce and my son is a Marine! I'm proud of all of our military persons! Great post!

Janet, said...

Enjoyed your post. We've had many family members that were in the armed forces, too. We owe a debt to them all.

Relyn said...

These memories are precious. Thanks for sharing them here.