I am a big bawl baby.
During my children's Patriots' Day program this morning, when my 4th grade son's class stood and sang in tribute to MLK Jr: "There was a man in America who had a dream they say... that all the people of the earth could live in peace one day!" I admit it. I teared up.
When the children stood and sang the Armed Forces Medley - The Caissons Go Rolling Along, Anchors Aweigh, Semper Paratus, The Wild Blue Yonder, and From The Halls Of Montezuma - and all the military parents in the auditorium stood up proudly - some in uniform, some not - as their individual branches of the armed forces were honored through youthful voices lifted in song, I may have busted a tear. Maybe two.
You see, both of my grandfathers fought in World War II against the terrorists of their day.
Major Lyle Heedum, my mother's dad, was an infantryman in the Pacific during the war. He also served two tours of duty in Germany and fought in the Korean War.
Lieutenant Orville Shelton, my dad's father, was awarded two purple hearts during his military career. The first time he was injured was when he stepped on a land mine somewhere in North Africa. He was blown through the air into some bushes and knocked unconscious, and since no one could find him he was reported dead. I tell you what, he sure raised a stir when he woke up three days later and staggered back to headquarters covered in blood. He always joked that everyone in headquarters turned absolutely white when he walked in the door. The second time he was injured was 100 miles north of Rome when his troop ran under a bridge to escape an aerial bombing attack. Everyone in his troop died that night. Everyone but my Grandpa. He lived, but suffered significant health problems for the rest of his life.
TGIM's grandfather Delbert was a ball turret gunner who was captured by German soldiers after they shot down his crippled B17. After free-falling from over 30,000 feet in the air (resulting in frostbite), he was captured and held in a POW camp for more than a year before liberation. He lost his eye to shrapnel and ate rats to stay alive, but he came home a hero, by damn. He also earned a Purple Heart.
Even TGIM's great-grandfather was a naval officer in World War I.
So, although both of my grandfathers have passed away, one fairly recently, today we honor them anyway.
TGIM's grandfather is alive and kicking, and a fairly well-known cowboy poet, and today we honor him, too.
We owe them, and others like them, the life we know today. They should have our respect and lasting gratitude. I know they have mine.
So God bless the troops who have fought for America in the past. And God bless the soldiers who are fighting for this country today, as well as those who will in the future. This country and nations all over the world owe our troops, past and present, a debt which can never truly be repaid.
So yes. I cried today. I did. And I don't care.
For the heroes
For the patriots
For the soldiers
For all the pioneers
I'll always be an American
And I'll always cry American tears.
That was great Cat. Thanks.
- » 11/11/2005 7:11 PM
- WILLIAM commented:
That was excellent. You have a great history.
- » 11/12/2005 1:34 PM
- mrtl commented:
How incredible! Thanks for sharing their stories!
- » 11/12/2005 2:44 PM
- Ern commented:
That was a very touching post. Thank's for sharing.
(MOOOOOOM, Cat TOUCHED me!)
- » 11/13/2005 12:24 PM
- Ern commented:
Uh, duh, that would be "Thanks" not "Thank's" I don't know where that came from!
- » 11/13/2005 12:24 PM
- Amy commented:
Wow. What a legacy your grandparents left you! I got a lump just reading this. And a bigger lump when i read this post to my hubby.
awesome. Thanks, Cat.
- » 11/13/2005 6:21 PM
- LadyBug commented:
That was just beautiful, Cat. Thank you.
- » 11/14/2005 9:10 AM
- Nessa commented:
you made me cry! I missed that special event this year...the one where I make a phone call to my retired Grandpa and tell him thank you. He died in August - thank you for remembering him for me!
- » 11/14/2005 1:38 PM