VETERANS DAY

Veterans day is still a ways off but it is never too early to reflect on what that day means. We currently have around 25 million Americans who have served in the military.

My Dad and his two brothers served during World War II. My Dad and his youngest brother were in the Navy and my other uncle served briefly in the army.

Uncle Colbert’s story is not one of any drama or great sacrifice but a reflection on military intelligence and how one can contribute to a war effort on different levels.

Colbert was a farmer through and through. He could be a contrarian and in this case he was the only one of the Byrums to go into the army. The army took one look at him and decided that they would turn Colbert into a cook.  Good luck with that one! If any of you know anything about farming, farmers don’t usually do the cooking. They get up before the sun to do the chores needed to get the days’ work done. Their wives do the cooking.

Well, in another example of military intelligence, his cooking did not work out so well.  He never did take orders too well either and sooner rather than later they decided that his skills would be better served by sending him back home. They claimed that they needed him back home because the country needed farmers, farming.

Colbert spent the war years doing what he did best, tilling the land. Personally, I’ve always felt that somehow his cooking left a bad taste in the general’s mouth and they just decided for the good of the country to send him home where he belonged.

Honestly though, during World War II, it was a war where each citizen contributed to the war effort in his or her own way. We were in it together with each citizen sharing in the sacrifice, whether it was working in a factory making things for our soldiers or on the battle field. 

Field Marshall Rommel knew things had changed when he saw what his intelligence officer had brought  him to see. It was a chocolate cake, that had been flown in from the states. 

Those were different times when all Americans knew what it meant for the country to fight and win in a war that was truly a fight for civilization as we know it.

So my Uncle Colbert did his part by helping to feed the country, and he definitely helped the country by not being a cook. Let’s thank all of our Veterans for their sacrifices each day instead of just the one day that is set aside as a holiday.

 

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2 responses to “VETERANS DAY

  1. I’ve just finished typing up my dad’s letters from boot camp in 1944. My grandmother put them in an album. They had special albums with each service and his had a propeller on the front for the Army Air Corps. What a way to meet my dad on a completely different level. This gentle soul I knew was working for gunner if he didn’t make pilot. All the guys in our family were in one of the services as soon as they could. That was a very different mindset.

    • Yes, it was a different time when shared sacrifice was common. Each person offered something different to the effort. I am sure that you are proud of your Dad. My father rarely talked about his experiences. I found that when I was at Pearl Harbor on the 70th anniversary of the attack, the men there admitted that they were more willing and eager to talk about their experiences as they got older. It makes for great oral history. You should check into the military archives about where your Dad was during the war. It might make a real contribution to the history of your family. We are but a composite of our past, after all.

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