My grandmother had 4 sons - 3 of these served actively during the war. Two served in Europe and one lost his life training other pilots. She would have been one of those praying mothers who hung a star or stars in her window.
- I remember seeing film footage of my Uncle Herbert's military funeral. Burial was in the really old cemetery in Wilmington - Oakdale - and in the Houston family plot. There was a 21 gun salute.
- I remember my mother telling me about the rationing of food and other items. She kept a ration stamp book in her keepsakes.
- I remember seeing pictures (I was too young to actually remember, but I was there, too) of my 2 Uncles who came home for their brother's funeral.
- I remember the treasured pictures we have that my Dad took when the brother who died was home on his last visit before his death. Pictures of him with his mother (my grandmother). My he was handsome - like a movie star. Pictures of him with my older brother who had his own "soldier outfit" and who wore it in the picture. My own father was medically unfit to serve. He tried to enlist twice.
And I pondered what it must have been like for my grandmother and grandfather to sit and wait while their sons served. And then to hear their youngest son had perished in a plane crash. How their hearts bled and broke.
And I thought how thankful I am for all the sacrifices people made that brought victory to the allies and defeat to the Germans. Sacrifices of stark living conditions. Sacrifices of youthful endeavors. Sacrifices of family gatherings. Sacrifices of health, limbs, sight. The supreme sacrifice of life. So many lives lost and so many lives given that I might grow up free. That my nation should remain free. That the awful bigotry and hatred that seeded the war should be snuffed out along with the feet, hands, heads, hearts, and society that made that terrible time possible.
Today I am thankful. Are you?