Across the sea in Normandy people do remember the sacrifice of Americans and their families. Carolyn Green never met her father. He left his pregnant wife to fight in WW2 and read of the birth but died in Normandy when Carolyn was only three months old. However, in searching for her father’s grave Carolyn met people who cared. He feed the town and they never forgot.
Her mother, shocked by her loss, only spoke about her dad once when Carolyn was in college. In 1990, decades after her father, Theodore Mister gave his life, Carolyn found his grave and found a link to th man she never knew. Her father yelled,
“Come on. Follow me!” and led a charge of two platoons against the Germans, firing his rifle as he ran.
He died but freed Cerisy Le Foret that day. Carolyn visits the town and grave every few years, People hug her, children give her picture they draw of her father in the battle, and they put her up on the beach while she visits. The town built a monument to honor her father, his division, and the Battle of Moulin Des Rondelle. Our government gave Carolyn the silver cross when she was two, in her father’s honor, but it’s the town that loves her that gave her a connection to her dad. They even commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of her father, that hangs in her home.
On memorial day we remember such courage as well as the loved ones left behind.
Helping a military family keeps those deployed smiling!
I’m often asked as a military mom, wife, and author of a book of stories on the home
front what people can do to support military families. There’s a lot you can do, but
please be pro-active about it.
Military spouses and kids are
Tough-they need to be to face the reality of war and time apart from their active duty loved one
Hopeful-they believe in their patriot and pray God will bring their loved one home safely
Quiet-they don’t ask for help a lot but appreciate what they get
So show up and help without being asked
Give them a gift card to eat out-even a small amount for a fast food place says you care and that warms their hearts
Give them a date you will watch the children so they can take a little time off
Invite them to share a meal
Show up to mow the lawn, plant flowers, or repair broken items
Call to say you care and want to listen to how they are doing-really listen–they may not have anyone who will listen to the daily grind and problems-then ask what has blessed them lately so they can perk back up.
Include them in a gathering (picnic, party, just hanging out) to bring that sense of belonging-it’s great when there’s a man in the group for children whose dad is away to have a father figure around
You get the idea- do something kind without being asked. It can be little or big, but be genuine and loving.
You can be a resource for them and get your church to form a hard hat group to do repairs for families with a deployed member, or hospitality group to set up some fun activities if a unit is deployed, or a youth group to set up some free babysitting.
One of my favorite memories when my husband deployed was a whole day off to do what I wanted. I went to a military pool and just laid out and slept for a few hours, then shopped and got my hair cut.
Ernie Pyle wove humor into his stories of WW2. When he described capturing Japanese soldiers he added in his role here:
The Marines surrounded the bushes and, with guns pointing, they ordered the Japs out. But the Japs were too scared to move. They just lay there, blinking.
The average Jap soldier would have come out shooting. But, thank goodness, these were of a different stripe. They were so petrified the Marines had to go into the bushes, lift them by the shoulders, and throw them out in the open,
My contribution to the capture consisted of standing to one side and looking as mean as I could.
Erni’s work was known as the typewriter heard round the world.
Enjoy one of his columns to the display of a cartoonist http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrJaGJ59TCw
As I planted strawberries and tomatoes this weekend I thought of the world war victory gardens. 20 million Americans converted any spare piece of land to a vegetable garden to grow produce as part of the war effort. They also helped by working in factories and recycling rubber and oil. Here’s a fun early cartoon that encouraged families to help with war efforts http://bit.ly/XO1pvJ The video clip is humorous yet informative and a great way to communicate and inspire people to help.
It’s amazing how the combined efforts of many people can produce great results. We need to team up more with neighbors and in our churches to help fight poverty, hunger, and other problems. America went a step further with recruiting women to work on farms to fill the vacancy of men at war. These women, called the Land Army turned city gals into farmers and gave them purpose.
Concentration camps remain one of the worst horrors of war and reminders of the cruelty of men. At one point of WW2 32,471 prisoners were confined to Camp Dora in the Harz Mountains. Germans forced prisoners to dig tunnels and live in them under unbearable conditions. They had no light or air for weeks at a time. Prisoners included thousands of Jews from many countries who were treated brutally.
The 786th Battalion and 243rd Engineer Combat Battalion arrived there and witnessed horros they declared to be worse than seeing their own comrades blown to pieces by land mines. Germans had abandoned the camp and many of the prisoners had been marched to Bergen-Belsen. This was called the death march. Allied forces found only 250 prisoners remaining, all ill and starving.
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?ModuleId=10006158&MediaId=2198 shows the liberation of the camp and US soldiers carrying out the survivors.
Such reminders should move us to turn from evil and turn toward God.
In early April, 1758 Indians dragged Mary and her mother off into the woods. Later Mary saw her mother’s scalp and knew they had killed her dear mother. She never forgot her mother’s parting words:
“Oh, how can I part with you, my darling? . . . We may be separated tonight and God only knows if we will ever see each other again. . . . Above all, never forget the prayer which you have always repeated. . . . Be a good girl, Mary, and God will take care of you.”
Forced to marry, work, and move she learned Indian ways and had no reason to leave the Indian life once she had children. It would mean separating from her sons and she knew she had no family left in the white man’s world. She married and outlived an Indian chief and the Indians gave her a large tract of land.
Mary found contentment and in later years asked a missionary to visit so she could reconnect with her faith. She dictated her life story to the missionary. She also used her knowledge of both the Indian language and English to negotiate between settlers and the indians.
For more watch this video about Mary http://bit.ly/129Hd5h.
Her story began in March, 1759 when Indians killed her husband and took Jean and her five children captive. Jean refused to work on the Sabbath and wouldn’t even pick berries. The Indians tried to coerce her into breaking her faith in God by taking away her children, one at a time, but even her children believed God would reunite them. One enraged Indian held her under water to drown her but failed to kill her. Then they quickly gave her away not a French commander at the nearest fort. Evidently they feared this woman and her trust in God.
Jean’s journey to freedom took her to Canada where she served a woman. Once her agreed on time of service ended Jean went to court and won her freedom but the judge commanded her to remain in Canada. Jean then found a man who sent her to London and then another who paid her voyage back home to Pennsylvania.
God rewarded her faith as she reunited with all her children over the years. The final reunion took place in 1778, nineteen years after the capture.
March 30, 2013 is Vietnam Veteran’s Day to remember those overlooked, spit upon, and never thanked at the end of the Vietnamese War. The tumultuous times ripped apart families, shattered the esteem of many, and left broken families in the wake.
Sue Goldsmith questioned life, war, and the existence of God as her husband served, When he returned home unwanted PTSD came with him. She felt as though she was going over the edge emotionally until she drove into a church parking lot. Sue walked in and found answers and healing for herself and their family.
Sue Downer met her husband after he served in Vietnam so when PTSD started after they married she had no clue about what sometimes caused him to erupt like a volcano. Phil’s outbursts impacted his whole family. His daughter knew two men as daddy. One loved her and was relaxed around her but the other scared her. She recalls hiding in a closet when she heard him yell at her mother and heard him thunder through the kitchen and out of the house. At the point of considering divorce they discovered Christ and Phil found men who understood and helped him heal.They fouded a ministry called Operations for Discipleship Network to help other families. He brings a message of experience to others when he shares how God can take our broken hearts and broken lives and heal us and our relationships.
March 30, 2013 is Vietnam Veteran’s Day. It took a long time to have this day in remembrance of those who served and their families. The war and protests divided the nation and tore families apart. Many returned home to be outcasts and spit on, even those drafted without volunteering.
Homecomings were not always splendid since PTSD often came hoe too. Susan Downer came close to divorce as did Sue Goldsmith. Sue had questioned life and God but never knew Christ until she felt close to the edge of her life emotionally. She parked in a church lot and found herself walking in. She walked intoher answer and what renewed her life and marriage.