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  • Results 1 to 9 of 9

    Thread: In Complete Awe

    1. #1
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      In Complete Awe

      Aye Mates,

      As we are about to observe Veterans Day, I am transported back a few weeks to a surprise 40th wedding anniversary party I recently attended for two dear friends. I had brought a camera in hopes of capturing some photo's of the honorees and was mingling with other guests while awaiting the arrival of the guests of honor. I observed an elderly gentleman seated some ten feet away and wearing a hat that proudly proclaimed him as a World War II Veteran and I promptly rose to my feet and went over and thanked him for his service to our nation while shaking his hand. He was gracious and humbly replied "thank you". He went to stand up like a true gentleman and I insisted that he did not and he sat back in his chair. At that moment it never occurred to me that he was the father of one of my best friends. I asked a mutual friend that was also a guest at the party if he knew whom the old Veteran was. He told me, "Mike, that's Bill's Dad". It all became very clear to me and I found myself in complete awe of the old gent. Bill had often spoke to me about his Dad and did so with palpable pride and respect of what the man represented. Bill had told me that his Dad had served in the United States Marine Corps as a machine gunner during WWII. I had asked Bill if he knew much about his Dad's military service and he told me that what he knew amounted to very little because his Dad was highly reluctant to talk about it. Having shared that much with Bill about his Dad I found my eyes continually glued to the man and wondered at the horror and hardships he had faced as a young Marine so many decades ago. As he sat by his wife of over six decades, I contemplated what must continually run through his mind, the sacrifices he made himself, the slaughter of Brother Marines he had no doubt witnessed all about him, and the survivor's guilt so many warrior's must deal with when they come home and their best friends do not. I wondered as he sat at the party if he questioned why he had been spared to enjoy such joyous gatherings when so many of his Brother Marines had never lived long enough to marry and have families of their own. My heart ached for Bill's Dad at that moment for the cruel memories he has endured for the majority of his years lived. My heart simultaneously found joy for him in knowing that he was not robbed of knowing the blessings of the family and friends that had gathered on that very day, the event of his sons' and daughter in-laws' 40th wedding anniversary. I was blown away as I watched him hold the hand of his tiny great grandson and thinking what that very act must have meant to him. Once again I found myself in complete awe of this living, breathing, personification of American history and all those like him that endured the unthinkable to guarantee the freedoms we enjoy today. God bless all of our Veterans.

      PHOTO;
      "SEMPER FI" - Once A Marine, Always A Marine. I captured this photo of Bill a proud USMC WW II Veteran as I wondered at the years he has endured of his sufferings in silence, that so commonly shared by himself and the many others that have given so much of themselves in service to our country.

      To Bill and all of his Brother and Sister Veterans, I thank you all with my most heartfelt appreciation. I hope all that read this will join me in doing the same.

      With Utmost Respect,
      Mike

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    3. #2
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      Mike, how very gracious of you to remain us of what most of us take for granted and never stop to give thanks where it is truly deserved.

      So glad Bill's Dad, served to give us our freedom and he now cherishes his great grandson, as well as this day of respect!! to Bill's Dad and all who served and are serving our great country.
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    5. #3
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      A beautiful tribute. Thank you for the reminder of what those who served endured.


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    7. #4
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      One can only imagine the stories of men like this, and it saddens me greatly knowing we are losing so many of these vets every day, and there will be a time in the not to distant future that they will all be gone. That will be a sad day indeed.

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    9. #5
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      It's hard to know what to say as so many of that generation are gone. What a special privilege for you to meet him. He represents an awesome generation. So many of my family traveled the same road and are now gone to this world. I can only imagine the fantastic reunion they are having.

      Thanks for sharing.
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    11. #6
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      What a wonderful post. So many of those veterans are leaving us every day. Thank you for posting this and reminding us of their sacrifice. What an honour it must have been to meet Bill.
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    12. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Mr Kleb View Post
      What a wonderful post. So many of those veterans are leaving us every day. Thank you for posting this and reminding us of their sacrifice. What an honour it must have been to meet Bill.
      Mr. Kleb,
      It was indeed an honor meeting Bill. His son and grandson along with myself all worked for state law enforcement agencies and are great friends and hunting partners. We will all be in Maine next week doing some coastal duck hunting. The family owns a TRAD X MAGGIE pup named ALLIE MAE that I have posted on here about.

      You are correct in that the warriors of this generation are passing on very quickly, and many like Bill will unfortunately take along much unknown history with them.

      Mike

    13. #8
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      Thank you for your thoughts. I sometimes think that we don't fully appreciate or understand the sacrifice that our soldiers made during such a horrific time. My friend's father was among the Canadian troops that liberated a town in Holland I do not know what he did but that town has honoured him many times over the years.
      A few years ago his family and a group of local high school students were invited to Holland for the opening of a bicycle path named in his honour. This Fall they presented his family with a hybred tulip named in his honour. It is red with a black center to resemble a poppy. They are using the sale of these bulbs as a fund raiser for the local Legion Growing up we knew that he was a nice man but not that we were in the presence of a humble hero. He is now 95 and unable to make the trip to The Netherlands but a group from there will once more visit his family this summer.

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    15. #9
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      We attended our small towns' Remembrance Day ceremony. It was moving, as always. Many wreaths were laid including some by survivors of local veterans and one for the Canadians who lost their lives serving in Afghanistan 2001-2014.

      My dad flew C-47s and dropped paratroops over Sicily and Normandy. He flew a seriously damaged plane across the Mediterranean, at night, to a safe landing.

      One uncle was a Marine and lost part of his arm on Tarawa. Another uncle was the Landing Signal Officer on board the USS Kalinin Bay, which suffered significantly in the naval Battle Off Samar.

      A trait all three shared was that they very rarely talked about their service and never about the horrors they were compelled to witness and to live through. I wish I knew more about them and their service.

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