Memorial Day Tribute to an Uncle I never knew.

WW 2 – Belgium

He was drafted as a baseball player–Pittsburgh I think, but that had to go on the back burner for the war.

People who knew him told me many stories about him and about his sense of humor and his talent as a ball player. He was my father’s brother but my mother knew him and my father’s family as a young girl, so she knew a lot about him and shared it all with me. She always made sure his memory was kept alive.

They called him “Lefty” because, obviously, he was left-handed. Ironically, I am the only family member since him who is left-handed. And the sense of humor goes without saying. So I guess that even though he died before I was even a thought, I have a bit of him in me. I sometimes get the feeling that I missed something not knowing him.

He had been discharged and scheduled to go home. The war was “over,” but like many brave boys and men of that time, he volunteered for one last optional mission. His clothing and personal belongings were sent home before him as the family prepared for his return–but first, he gladly went off on his voluntary mission in Belgium. There is where he died when a tank was incinerated by ‘former’ enemy fire. He was one of the many soldiers who died “Post war”. I guess the war wasn’t as “over” as they said it was.

I am not sure what the protocol was in those days or what the circumstances were, and my information was second-hand, but my mother was a serious family historian, so I do know that in this case, nobody “Brought him home” for the family when he died. He was buried there for whatever reason, along with others who were with him. From what I understood, there wasn’t much left of him. However, the family, I assume in tandem with the government, spent a great deal of time and effort locating and exhuming his remains in Belgium after the war, so that they could bring him home to be reburied–and they succeeded.  In those days, dead or alive, family was family and you never gave up on family. So unlike today.

I never knew my uncle, but I still have many photos of him and letters he sent home. He was a darned good-looking guy, tall and lanky and that glint that  told me there was so much of a promising life ahead of him, but for the ravages of war.  He was also a very good writer, not only in penmanship, but style. Behind his upbeat tone that made you know he missed everyone in a painful way, but fighting for the USA was his responsibility, you knew things were rough for him and he could use a little pasta fagioli right now.

There is one photo of him in uniform that was always on display in our home, and my brother and I were not to be robbed of the knowledge that  we had an uncle who gave his life for our country. When my parents were both gone, I passed along to my Aunt the gold star and flag that were given to my grandmother. The decision here was that when the last of the immediate family died, the flag and star would go with that person. My Aunt is gone now and so is the star and the flag.  The younger generation isn’t particularly interested in keeping such mementos, are they now? They travel much lighter and family roots bring with them so many boxes of  what are “things” to others and cherished memories to us.

So, today I will honor my Uncle. For me, this is always also a day to reflect upon my immediate family as they are all gone as well. That leaves me to think of them and think of them I do. And then some.

It’s also ironic that Memorial Day should fall on the date in 2008 when democracy died in the Democratic Party. This, I also mourn on behalf of my country.

So, who are you honoring today?

On to a tribute for Memorial Day–and a reminder of how despicable it is today that our youngest and most ignorant, along with our government “leaders”– most of whom never sacrificed a thing for their country except to sit in a chair and Rule– discount and disrespect, discount and demean our elderly by deciding they are no longer valuable now that they have done their jobs and are too old to do more. For all the talk of “Patriotism,” few of them know the meaning of the word like this gentleman knew it:

If you don’t feel this, you have no feelings.

48 Responses

  1. I found this today and thought it was a great tribute to all who served, the fallen heros, their families. may we never forget just how much we owe them.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE CHATTERING PEOPLE RULE

    THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SERVED AND ARE SERVING AND GOD BLESS YOU

  2. The Bataan death march became very real to me when the son of one of these men who died in it attended some of my high school classes.

    The families of those brave men went through their own hell and were sometimes forgotten.

  3. Thanks, UW, for introducing Uncle Lefty, and for this meaningful post.
    ———
    So who [am I] honoring today? My heart is particularly full of emotion this day, as I treasure/honor every patriotic opportunity, wondering if it will be the last time I am able to do so. I honor middle school band leader Barbara Thompson who manages semi-annually to eke out extraordinary musical efforts from a gym full of 5th – 8th grade students (and topping all previous efforts last Tuesday evening with program of excellent American music capped by an unbelievable rendition of El Capitan performed by the 7 – 8th graders combined). Mrs. Thompson always ends these concerts with all including audience, playing/singing 3 verses of “America the Beautiful” with hand held to heart. [Last verse: … Thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears…]
    Then there are the WWII uncles: Jim who came home to learn his wife had strayed, Ed whose injuries left him with lifelong seizures with which his wife and daughter could not cope. They buried him in the family cemetery with merely the government issue tombstone and moved across country; Bob who served in two wars and seemed the least scathed by it all but he did endure this:
    http://homeofheroes.com/brotherhood/chosin.html

    Fast forward to today. Well performed Sousa marches always bring me to tears. Shall I go to a nearby city to view parades and ceremonies likely to fulfill that pleasure? Or shall I go to the parade/ceremony in town where the parade may or may not have a band, any floats in the parade will likely be drawn by big lawn mowers, and there will be a nice ceremony at the old cemetery in the town center.
    I believe I will stay nearby this day. May you all have a meaningful day.

  4. To all those uncles, aunts, fathers and mothers who wanted their children to live in safer world. Thanks for all your sacrifices.

    This is our PUMA anniversary too. Here’s our tombstone:

    http://johnwsmart.wordpress.com/

  5. Yes indeed, Karen. Today is a day of mourning for Democracy and the Democratic Party.

  6. This shitbag stabbed his 17 year old daughter 15 times and stuffed her in a dumpster. He was also having sex with her. Now tell me he shouldn’t be executed Stat.

  7. Wow Pamela, that link. Just wow. For you, and for your uncles.

  8. Well done, Freedom Fairy. Well done.

  9. My father who served in WW2 and died in the mid nineties of Emphysema. My sig other/best friend Jack Kelso who served four terms of duty in Viet Nam, on various ships but in particular the New Jersey which sat in the harbor off Nam and engaged in many battles. All of my ancestors who served from the beginning of this nation, particularly those who served in the battle of Wyoming, various Starks, and lost their lives there.
    All of the men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya who we have sent in to a worse place than even Viet Nam. Hundreds of thousands of them with Traumatic brain injuries and loss of limbs and of course those who have died.
    God forgive us for sending our kids in to war when our own generation protested to end the war of our generation.

  10. Memorial Day- what can a proud military mom born on the 4th of July say?
    Dad was born on Memorial Day- and even though he was deaf he tried to enlist in every branch of the service- not successful obviously- but a true patriot in his own way- instilling in us all a love of America and respect for those who served.
    My heart goes out to all the moms and dads whose sons and daughters will never come home. Truly I am blessed.
    My all time favorite patriotic song- a prayer from my heart as well

  11. And for all of us who love the Sousa marches! Make sure you bring the dog over to listen Uppity!

  12. a thoughtful article

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/greenberg053011.php3

  13. Hahahaha Mom, you know me too well. We will be attending a parade before we head over to the BBQ. Noon Sharp. My dog NEVER misses a parade. Have parade, dog will travel. Funny, how dogs know what their owners love and join in accordingly. She also has her flag neckerchief, of course.

  14. Yes, isn’t it ironic that the “anniversary” of the death of the Democratic party and democracy is on Memorial Day this year.
    Thanks to all the brave men and women who are serving and have served our country, including my dad who was a WWII vet.

  15. Beautiful header btw FF!

  16. Great post, Uppity!

    Here’s to “Lefty” and his luminous progeny. Enjoy your holiday!

  17. Ack would rather have ice picks stuffed in my ears then listen to Ray Charles.
    As for the parade oh yes love them but love being in them too so have several scheduled this summer.

  18. From vets everywhere, everywhen: “All we ever wanted was for our country to love us half as much as we love it”– Rambo.

  19. Wonderful post UW. Thank you.

  20. UW, PMM, thanks for the music.

  21. Military foreclosure victims awarded 22 Million settlement.
    http://tinyurl.com/3f46q3l

    Imagine calling home from active duty in Iraq to find that your wife and family have been evicted from their home — all because your lender overlooked the paperwork. It happened to at least 170 active duty servicemembers over the past few years, some of whom returned from duty with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe paralysis.

  22. UW, that guy in the video couldn’t be the perpetrator – he has such a great command of the English language (oy!)

    You know what I liked about that video – the two anchors were female, the reporter was female, and the police spokesperson was female.

    I’ve noticed on Fox that as you look at the tv, the female is always on the right, and the male is always on the left. Alway, always, always. It must be a rule – but why? All I can think of is that we read from left to right, so perhaps the left side imparts a feeling of “the main person”, and the right side imparts of feeling of “sidekick”….? Who knows – but it’s just so weird – it really must be a rule, because I’ve never seen an exception on Fox.

  23. “To this day I still don’t understand why,” Hurley reflected. “They took it illegally; why can’t I get it back? I didn’t want any money. All I wanted was my house back.

    Heartbreaking.

    BofA and Morgan Stanley – figures. Those CEOs belong in jail.

  24. Dear Lorac,
    “Sitteth at the right hand of God”.

  25. I always wear one of my PUMA shirts on May 31. I’ll have to go out shopping today and parade it around.

    I think it IS very interesting that Memorial Day and The Day Democracy Died fall together this year. The people we honor on Memorial Day fought for our principles as a nation, and it’s the same date that our principles were thrown away just to elect this Fraud.

  26. oops tomorrow is the date – I’ll have to wear it today outside, because I have to work tomorrow and I have to dress up for work….

  27. God bless those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

    O/T: she apparently took the evidence to the police station… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13594762 …and that’s just happens to be one that’s reported. Wow.

  28. Allie, around here we call those stories heartwarming.

  29. Allie, the police sure weren’t in a hurry to get that penis back to its owner in time for reattachment lol

    And men got freaked out by Fatal Attraction! I wish these Bobbitt stories would get more press!

    (How does one cut off a penis, anyway? They never say…. one hack with a butcher knife…?)

  30. Wonderful post, Uppity! And great header FF!

    I remember all those who died to make us free — as well as those Democrats who decided to cheat the voters in 2008. Blessings on the first and shame to the latter!

    djmm

  31. Another case of “Do as I say, not as I do” from our petty politicians – this one in a federally declared disaster area. Asshats sure are everywhere.

    http://tinyurl.com/3dnlebp

    OT – Or rather, more accurately – ON Topic – I was having coffee w/my neighbor on the porch this morning and we were given a treat of TWO VERY LOW PASSES of TWO F 16 Falcons, fully loaded and so low you could almost see the pilots! It was WOWVILLE!!!!!!

  32. Shook the house!

  33. They LOOKED JUST LIKE THIS passing over! LOL

    I LOVE these things!

    http://tinyurl.com/3gaqfx8

  34. Memorial day for you is our Remembrance Day in November where we wear poppies and attend parades. Personally, I wear a poppy most of the year. I was asked about that recently and advised the chap that remembrance is not just about one day, although it is excellent that a day is set aside. My grandfather – killed, my two uncles – maimed then died, my aunt – incarcerated in prision camp. I remember.
    Beautiful header FF – very moving.
    Uppity, did you receive the donation to Bill’s habit? Need to know so I can track it down if you haven’t. Thanks.

  35. Some humor about Weinergate lol

    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2011/05/help-me-bring-the-weiner-hacker-to-justice.html

  36. I think maybe Weiner got all confused – people are getting out their hambergers and weiners for the bbq, and others, people are saluting flags while watching military displays of missiles – he wanted so badly to participate but just got his Weinerconfused – so he saluted with his weiner, but didn’t have a missile, so he sent it by the internet…. poor guy… he had better stay clear of that country where they’re cutting ’em off! lol

  37. Saw this on ABC News. I’ve known of situations where they’ve had to play the tacky CD of taps because no musician was available. Yay for these folks and for Uppity’s uncle and my Dad.

    http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org/

  38. About 15+ years ago I had my dad’s wings from the Army Air Corps (China-India-Burma Campaign) made into a bracelet. They are 3″ wide, solid sterling silver and on a very heavy sterling silver flat link with a lobster claw clasp. I wear it every day.

    The wings: http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/usaaf/aircrew/images/amcraftpatternaafcrewlgfrtsm.jpg

  39. I also wear my mom’s wedding ring on a chain. Parents are always with me.

  40. OT: So this is what was really happening during the Egyptian protests for “freedom”. I guess freedom only for 1/2 the population:
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/05/30/egypt.virginity.tests/index.html?hpt=T1

  41. That’s neat FF. What a great way to hold their memory close.

  42. imust,

    first the wimmenz then the goats.

  43. In honor of my cousin…..

    http://www.virtualwall.org/ds/SchroederRG01a.htm

  44. UW, very nice of you to post on Lefty. Thanks to him and many others, for their ultimate sacrifice to make our country the best. Yes, how nice if those who came afterwards, would continue to memorialize those who gave it their all. Mementos vs. things. Their intrinsice value is what we give them, and what they mean to us. Pity those who fail to maintain the connection with forbears of times past.

    Lefty lurks on the virtual net and approves of your posts. Snickering and guffawing, ranting and raving, alongside the rest of us, of course.

  45. FF I thought i was the only one left on earth who wore something of her mother’s around her neck. Way to go!

  46. Great wings, FF.

  47. To Dear Uncle Lefty,

    We celebrate your dashing and courageous life, and thank you for your sacrifice. We also thank you for your humorous and courageous niece.

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