Category Archives: Civil War

Conversation With Cliff

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We were talking about his boys, Cliff and I. It led into a new subject

for me to research. He had suggested in the 1800’s, President Ulysses

S. Grant had been one of the founders of the idea for National Parks.

We had had a few recent conversations about President Theodore

Roosevelt, his past and the post I had written. This was the one about

his personal tragedy of losing his wife and mother on the same day.

Which took Theodore out West to find an ‘escape’ and tranquility. The

area he had chosen to find refuge in, led him to his pursuit of natural

wonders and supporting National Parks.

 

Hiram Ulysses Grant was born on April 27, 1822 and lived until July 23,

1885. He had throat cancer and died at age 63 years old.  He was born

in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He met his wife from a classmate during the

years after he attended military school. He had four children and his

legacy as President and during the times of Civil War and following

peaceful times, is with mixed reviews.

 

Time has slowly improved and healed some of the negative aspects

of President Grant’s memories. Historians and biographers have

become kinder over the years.

 

As a boy, Hiram’s father had Abolitionist sentiments. The family

did not have slaves. Later on, wife’s family did. When there were

times of financial hardship, Grant released his wife’s slaves. This

was despite the fact he could have made money by selling them.

He had enlisted their services on the farm they had owned and they

participated in helping to care for the land. Grant named his family’s

home, “Hardscrabble.”

 

While young, Grant did not attend the family’s Methodist church,

since apparently he was the youngest and did not have to. He chose

to pray privately all his life. He had a sensitive nature, shown in his

taking art courses from Robert Walter Weir. This artist’s paintings

were from the Romantics period. There are nine artworks of Grant’s

still surviving.

 

Hiram had a knack for handling and training horses. He was what

we would now call a, “Horse Whisperer.”

 

Another aspect of Grant’s softer side was when President Abraham

Lincoln was assassinated, he stood alone at the funeral and wept.

He said of Lincoln:

“He was incontestably the greatest man I have ever known.”

 

The only quote I could find from Lincoln of Grant was during the

Civil War, while Grant was very rough on his troops, trying to keep

them in line and some of the bloodiest battles were ones he led,

Lincoln said when others complained of Grant’s determination

and grit:

“I can’t spare this man, he fights.”

 

Going back to how Grant got his name accidentally changed. . .

When Hiram was only 17 years old a congressman who knew his

father, nominated him for the U.S. Military Academy in West

Point, New York. The friend knew his middle name was Ulysses

and his mother’s maiden name was Simpson, so he chose to write

his letter of recommendation for “Ulysses S. Grant,” to become

a military student at West Point.

 

At school, since his initials were U.S., some of his friends started

to call him “Sam” as in “Uncle Sam.” What a patriotic name this is.

Just imagine how it came to be and I like to picture him so much

more as the boy named, “Hiram.” When he went off to school at

West Point there are records of his weight and height:

He was 5′ 1″ tall and he weighed 117 pounds.

 

He was an average student who liked mathematics and geology.

 

A good friend and classmate at West Point introduced him to his

sister, Julia Dent. They became engaged and four years later,

“Sam” and Julia married.

 

At the time after the Civil War, Grant and his family traveled to

Washington, D.C. He was in Cabinet meetings and was given the

authority to be in charge of cotton and its sales in the district

where he and his wife’s family lived.

 

Grant was invited to join President Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd,

for an evening at the theater. Instead, Grant and his wife and family

went to Philadelphia for entertainment and a vacation. When he

was called back to Washington due to the assassination, Grant

was bereft.

 

Some of the negative reports about Grant include that he may have

had a drinking problem during his academy and military career.

 

Grant also made a ‘bad decision’ in judging the Jewish people who

were involved in the district he was responsible to monitor cotton

sales in.   He “threw all the Jewish cotton dealers out” and this

Anti-Semitic decision has been often listed as one of the worst ones

he made.

 

Positive relationships with the African Americans post-Civil War

and the Native Americans have made President Ulysses S. Grant’s

memories and tributes less harsh over the years. When he threw

himself into the Civil War battles, Grant “found renewed energy in

the Union cause.” He led volunteer army he tried to rally and

discipline the Northern troops the best he could.

 

While President, Grant chose to create a position in his Cabinet

and nominate someone to be the “Commissioner of Indian Affairs.”

He wanted Peace among the tribes and Grant publicly ‘castigated’

Custer for his massacre of the Indians in the battle known as,

“Custer’s Last Stand.”

 

Cliff is my coworker who has two sons who are on the precipice of

being teenagers. He is struggling to find ways to continue family night

and enjoying all sorts of activities together. His wife is often ‘left at

home’ but he insists she prefers her personal space and encourages

the boys to spend time with their Dad.

 

Cliff has been trying to capture their attention by taking them to

parks, renting canoes, hiking in various places around the four states

of Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana. He has been considering a

trip to Pennsylvania, but has not decided if this is where they will go

for a summer vacation.

 

Cliff is the one who told me about Grant’s positive decisions to help

Native American relations and also, the Gold Rush. While people

were out West, panning for gold, some stumbled upon the lovely

Geysers and other notable natural beauties.

Cliff was also ‘sure’ that Grant helped to denote the land around the

Geysers out West, as National Park. He was also ‘sure’ that Yellowstone

Park was part of President Grant’s plan of becoming a National Park.

 

Cliff is a ‘simple guy,’ but an extraordinary father. I give him plenty

of positive encouragement, while not flirting or trying to take too

much time away from my order filling.  He is in Cycle Count, so is

often ‘in my way’ and  by talking to him, he follows me while I pick

the warehouse products and place them in the bins or hampers.

 

I had written a post some time ago, last winter I believe, talking about

his interest in the cartoon which had content for young people, “Johnny

Quest.” There were no copies of the series in his local library. He found

some, I believe on YouTube. He ended up showing his boys several

episodes and getting them hooked on “Scooby Doo.”

 

So was Cliff right? For someone who admits he only got “C’s” in  his

high school Geography and History classes, he has come a long way!

 

On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant passed the legislation

for National Parks in an area about the size of Rhode Island and the

state of Delaware combined. “Yellowstone Park” and all of the area

is intended to be held as a National Park, preserved and protected

by the United States Government. This law that was passed into a

Bill made the Northwest Corner of the Wyoming Territory part of

the beginning of many other areas known as National Parks.

 

Some quick facts about Yellowstone National Park of note:

~Home of 1/2 the World’s geysers.

~Large mountainous region.

~High elevation lakes.

~Numerous species and abundant game and wildlife.

All are protected and preserved, due to President Ulysses S. Grant.

 

Just for extra information, Cliff shared with me that in Ohio we

only have one National Park. It is called Wayne National Forest

and is located in the Southeastern part of Ohio. It is an area of

240,101 acres. It is located on the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau

and is part of a ‘reforestation program.’

 

Isn’t it amazing the things you can learn from a coworker?

 

Hope the research and information about President Ulysses S.

Grant showed you a different picture than the Civil War leader,

making him a more well-rounded character.

September Days

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“As we turn the pages of time,

We discover hidden mysteries

And triumphs in each new chapter.”

Flavia, (2003)

 

It is so hard to believe we have turned another page in our 2014 calendar

to  nearly 3/4 of the year having passed on by. The ninth month is upon us,

for some of us in this revolving world who measure months as the U.S and

other countries do in 12 month increments.

I am always amazed at how much time really does fly.  Who could truly

understand and envision this concept , while young? I think so many authors

have featured this in their themes. It is true that we never realize until we get

older, we cannot stop the way it seems to speed ahead. No matter how many

times we are reminded to concentrate and told to live in the moment.

 

When I watched the beginning of a recent episode of “The Talk,” I was rather

surprised when they mentioned an example of how we all make mistakes.

One huge decision that Cher fought with Sonny over was the song, “I’ve Got

You Babe.” She did not like it!

Later, Cher fought with her advisor/manager over the song, If I Could Turn

Back Time.” Can you imagine what impact losing both of these songs would

not only mean on Cher’s career, but on our lives? I cannot ever think about

time marching forward relentlessly without pondering the song and its

powerful message of turning back time. That is how connected both of those

things are, songs and memories.

Turning back time, wishing to go back may remind you of the movie,

“Back to the Future” also. That iconic movie, with Christopher Lloyd and

Michael J. Fox are sure part of my personal ‘time machine.’

 

Moving ahead, reluctantly, into September now. . .

 

SEPTEMBER  2014

Birthstone: Sapphire           Flower: Aster

 

This is Yoga Awareness Month!

 

September 1-

Labor Day

Suggested by the veterans, fly your flag today for workers everywhere.

 

2-

First quarter moon.

a sliver or crescent moon

 

6- Family camping for Boy Scouts

Picture my oldest daughter, my two grandsons, their ‘tribe’ out towards

Newark, my helping by transporting tent, camping gear and spending

the day with them. Possibly persuaded to sleep over, but unsure since

tomorrow is…

 

7- National Grandparents Day

All Horse Parade, Delaware, Ohio

 

9- September’s Full Moon

Known as either,

Full Corn Moon or

Full Harvest Moon.

Also,

“Admission Day” in California.

 

11-

This is 13 years since 9/11/01.

Patriot Day.

We honor those who died and give tribute to those living who have

suffered due to loss, having lung and other health issues and those

who worked, tirelessly, sifting through the rubble to find bodies.

I will never forget the images, nor will those who were watching.

Later that same month, Herman’s Hermits came to the Delaware

County Fair. I loved and got tears when they took their traditional

British Flag off the stage and replaced it with the American flag.

Herman made a short and poignant speech, that we were all in this

together and their hearts were aching with ours. They also said to

sing and celebrate together, as those who go to ‘wakes’ do, and we all

embraced the nostalgic music carried over the waves into our hearts.

By the way, it brought me smiles to see women who had brought roses

to give to Herman’s Hermits. Nice memory and kind words spoken,

during a critical and serious time.

 

Delaware County Fair, 2014 runs from September 13- 20. Our part of

the Triple Crown of Harness Racing, the Little Brown Jugette will be

held on September 17 th and the Little Brown Jug will be held on Sept.

18th.

 

16- Independence Day, Mexico.

Ole! Mexico!

17- I like to feature different areas of fifty year’s celebrations. On this day,

9/17/64, the first “Bewitched” television show was shown on television.

The character, male lead, “Darren” was played by Dick York, but later,

Dick Sargent was the actor who took over the role. The female character,

a mother, wife and witch is played by Elizabeth Montgomery as “Samantha.”

The part that I enjoyed was how playful and interactive the cast was, which

included fathers, mothers and mother in law, “Endora.” The child, “Tabitha,”

when born was one of my favorite memories of this show that ran from 1964

until 1972.

 

19- POW/MIA  Recognition Day.

Remembering all those who were lost, held captive, some tortured or giving

their lives for their country. This is a day we may pray for their families and

ancestors. All who were ultimately changed in their course of time.

 

20- International Day of Peace.

The United Nations declared this and I hope that fighting will stop, at least

on this day for calm and Peace around the World.

 

23-

First Day of Autumn or Fall.

I love to get my bittersweet and pumpkin decorations out, draping some

fall colors over places, along with changing over my wardrobe from summer

to fall.

 

24- New Moon.

At sundown, Rosh Hashanah begins through September 26th.

This is considered the Jewish New Year. It celebrates Adam and

Eve, in the Bible story.

 

26- The 28th Annual Ryder Cup Championships.

Golfing enthusiast will be watching this at the PGA Centenary Course. The

professional golfers will be staying in the Gleneagle Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland.

One of the mornings, I am sure, will have the gorgeous mist and fog rising off

the damp grass on the Greens, which will evoke the image of the foggy moors.

 

28-

On this Sunday, we celebrate our being a good neighbor. Help out someone who

may need an extra set of hands, or just be neighborly, offer them some homemade

baked goods or fresh fruit!

 

My September Monthly Book Suggestion:

(In the past, I featured children’s books, which you may find in my 2013 posts.)

 

“Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman”

by Robert O’Connell, Random House, 432 pages.

This September makes the 150th anniversary of General William Tecumseh

Sherman’s critical capture of Atlanta during the Civil War. The biography of

this much “celebrated” legendary general is well written. The memorable

march to the sea and later the takeover of Savannah were key strategies. His

personal life, with its complications and character struggles are very intriguing.

It is always fascinating to read about historic events and get a personal slant,

from the writer’s perspective of those times. The role of general and soldier who

later became a statesman is another facet to read about in this book.

 

Here are some quotations to close this month of September off:

“Home is the place that’ll catch you when you fall.

And we all fall.”  (Billie Letts.)

 

“To build a sense of trust takes risks.

You’ll never know whether the rope will hold,

Unless you take hold of it. . .

And swing out over the water.”

(Thomas Kinkade)

 

 

 

 

These Boots. . .

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Of course, this is one example of how just the beginning words of a song

can send you back in time, evoke memories or irritate you, depending on

the particular words! “These boots are made for walking…” sung by Nancy

Sinatra, came out in February, 1966. The lyrics and melody were written

by Lee Hazelwood.

Of course, these boots were an example of figurative speech and they were

usually viewed during this era to be, “go go boots!” I would like to switch over

to pre-Civil War days, when good ole’ cowboy boots were more prevalent.

Some interesting facts are they came about due to necessity, ability to handle

all sorts of inclement weather and using leather to hold up, for the long haul.

I had not realized that the heels were made to be tall, to be able to latch onto

the stirrups on the side of the horse, attached to the saddle.

Many of you out West and South know the purpose to cowboy boots, I always

viewed them as ‘cute’ boots that my brothers wore with their leather vests

and chaps, along with the accompaniment of a “Sheriff” badge, made out of

stamped tin silver.

My oldest daughter was quite fond of the ability to slide her tights-encased

feet into her Daddy’s little boy cowboy boots. They were made of  rugged dark

brown leather with tan stitching, that looked like ropes lassoing and winding

around. She had discovered that the more you wear the leather boots, the more

they ‘fit’ and conform to your feet.

I loved the way she was my ‘frilly’ girl, wearing dresses into her grade school

years. Those cowboy boots were easy to slip on, then clomp around in, making

quite a racket on hardwood floors! The third year she saw Santa Claus in her life,

with her wearing a pretty Christmas dress and white tights on, is my favorite

pose of hers wearing boots! No ‘go go boots,’ for her! I have a picture of her

wearing a pair of high heeled black dress boots on the day of her best friend,

Jennifer’s 21st birthday that nearly meets the high emotions I get when I see her

on that Christmas, 1983!

When I saw Willie Nelson’s photograph, in a beautiful pair of smooth and

shiny black leather cowboy boots,  inside of my recent “AARP Magazine” and

gracing the cover of my daughter’s “Rolling Stones” magazine, too. Later after

getting my mail seeing the still ‘mighty fine’ man, Jeff Bridges on the outside

cover. Then inside he is talking about his days in western movies, like “Crazy

Heart”  and “True Grit,” (remade) where he wore cowboy boots. . .

I just had to learn more about cowboy boots!

There is an author, Jennifer June, whose recent book, “Art and Sole,” came

out with all kinds of modern pieces of artwork in decorating cowboy boots

that is well worth skimming and like I did, looking at the fantastic art on

current boots. Isn’t that the cleverest title?

Side tracking,  I enjoyed years ago (1993) a great movie, called, “Heart and

Souls.” If you wish to think of what is happening in the hearafter, with a

big dose of humor and fun,  check out this one! I am so pleased that the

members of this movie, are all still with us, gracing the ‘silver screen.’

With Robert Downey, Jr., Alfre Woodard, Charles Grodin, Elisabeth Shue

and Kyra Sedgwick, this is a four star movie cast!

The subject of cowboy boots, with its incredible industry with various

successful companies really could fill  several books! Country western stars,

some who may have never ridden a horse grace the musical scene. The show,

“Nashville,” made it through two seasons, I believe.

“Red Wings,” is a big name in cowboy boots and work boots, too. The artists

who are part of the company, “Rocket Busters,” stitch and design, paint and

create flair using boot leather as their “canvas.” Looking at many of the lovely

patterns, I decided if I ever lived near horses, were going out to enjoy a date

with a cowboy, I would choose their “Chandelier” design. Another company to

check out, its roots in Texas, is Justin Brand Boots, or simply “Justin’s boots.”

In honor of Willie Nelson I will share a few of his passions:

He loves the woman he married in 1991, Annie. He loves his sons and thinks that

when them, Micah, Lucas and he play their guitars and sing, they are ‘as good as

it gets.’ For 50 years or more, his sister, Bobbie, has been part of his bus touring

group. His two daughters, Amy and Lana, also like to travel on the road with

him.

He is a big supporter of migrant workers, enjoys seeking home grown vegetables

and fruits, in a fair market value system. He is supportive of farmers all across

the world. Willie is 81 and just passed this fifth degree black belt in Korean

martial arts!

Willie’s song on his album, “Band of Brothers,” I recommend to you. It is

called, “I’ve Got a Lot of Traveling to Do.” Willie passé on this final thought in

his recent article,  he admits it is not original but worth repeating!

“Don’t slow down – – –

They might be gaining on you!”

Cowboy Boots:

Roy Rogers wore them.

 

Roy made the boots quite popular!

I cannot help myself, I wanted you to know Roy’s ‘real’ name was Leonard

Franklin Slye, he lived from 1911 – 1998, with his second wife and he making

it to 51 years together! Known as the “King of Cowboys,” he seemed to deserve

this legendary title.

 

Dale Evans wore them.

Elvis wore them.

Governor Rick Perry wears them.

Both Presidents Bush, Senior and Junior wore them.

 

Do you wear them?

 

I had a babysitter who lived out on a farm, her children and I liked to feed the

baby lambs baby bottles of milk. This was in her farmhouse kitchen in the

winter time. I loved being out in the country but have never owned a pair of

cowboy boots! I guess living in a town,(Sandusky, Ohio) then close to a big city,

(Cleveland) I considered myself a ‘city’ girl!

 

If I decide to go out and buy some cowboy boots, do you have a favorite brand

to recommend I try?

 

 

 

Letters from Our Soldiers

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A man who collects letters from those wartime men and women

who died, gathered them together to donate a huge amount to

a university. Andrew Carroll, editor of the New York Times

best-sellers, “War Letters” and “Behind the Lines,” donated

his collection of 100,000 letters to Chapman University in

Orange, California.

For those of you who liked “Reader’s Digest” magazine and

their equally valuable reading place, “Reader’s Digest

Condensed Books,” I would like to share that I dreamed of

having a position and getting paid for working for one of

those highly esteemed reading sources. I always thought

what an interesting job it would be to ‘cull’ and ‘sort’

through newspapers, magazines and newly published books to

discover which ones would be worthy of being condensed and

read by millions of readers.

After all my days in doctor’s offices and hospitals with my

youngest daughter, (who has lived with JRA since she was 11,

diagnosed at age 13) I would like to nominate those special

and easily read magazines for some kind of Pulitzer Award!

The books were ones I could take to a babysitting job, while

12 and up, read one or two of the ‘books’ encased in those

esteemed volumes and feel I was ‘in the know’ for a time, on

what was considered popular literature, nonfiction and other

kinds of writings. They sometimes led me back to the library

to get the complete book, wanting more details.

What I am doing today is presenting you with an article and

a lead on some books, which may ‘whet your appetite’ for more!

I am considering myself, ‘duly elected’ to this position and

consider finding these ‘gems’ to share with you. In each letter,

there is a story.

Had my cousins written during their Viet Nam War experiences and

shared the letters with my mother, she would have kept them. I

wish I knew more of their experiences.

I will always remember when my twin second cousins, Johnny

and Eddie, came back from the Viet Nam War. My cousin, Ed, went

back to being a pharmacist at Tuck’s Pharmacy, located in the

small, notable town of Rockport, Massachusetts. My cousin, John,

came back to California, briefly found out that his wife had

been unfaithful, and left the West coast permanently. It was my

16th summer, the one my parents let me go work at the candy

counter, learning how to be independent since my Great Aunt Dot

and Great Uncle George, gave me working hours, dinner hour and

the curfew of 10 p.m. during the week, 11 p.m. during the weekend.

I learned firsthand about PTSD, through deep and dark discussions

with Johnny. He was not happy with his war experiences. I wish now,

that I had written notes down, during that three month period.

His life irrevocably changed, whereas his twin brother, who had

been in the ‘medic’ field tents and not in direct contact with

weapons. No, he just handled their aftermath results, seemingly

unscathed.

Andrew Carroll has collected letters from the Revolutionary War,

the Civil War, WWI and WWII, Korean War, the Gulf, Afghanistan and

Iraqi skirmishes, too.

1. A Revolutionary War letter~

Writing from father to son, James Williams began a letter to Daniel,

on June 12, 1779:

“This is the first chance I have had to write you. I am, by the cause

of Providence, in the field in defense of my country.” He describes

missing his children and wife. I love the way he shows his emotions

about her,

“Your mother, who sits like a dove that has lost its mate, having the

weight of the family on her shoulders.”

Sadly, James died at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

He had written these foreboding words,

“The uncertainty of life ought to induce every man to prepare for

death.”

2. A Civil War letter~

When a soldier has been mortally wounded, their words are even more

heart-breaking, since time is slipping away from them. Here is a part

of a letter from John Ross Wallar, who volunteered to be a drummer boy,

in the Civil War. This is most sad, since he was only 15 years old.

He dictated these words in a short letter, sent to his family:

“Dear Sister, Father, Mother and Friends,

I received your letter, but I don’t think I ever shall see another

that you write. This is Friday night. But I don’t think I will live

to see morning. But my kind friends, I am a soldier of Christ. I

will meet you all in Heaven. My leg has been taken above my knee. I

am dying, at this time. So don’t mourn after me. For I have bled and

died for my country.

May God help you all to pray for me. I want you all to meet me in

Heaven above…

My wound dresser is writing this letter.

Write to Alexander Nelan, for I won’t live till morning.

So goodbye, my friends. May God be with you

all. God bless my poor Soul.”

3. A WWI letter (in France)~

On September 11, 1918, a Columbia University student who had volunteered

for service, leaving school. Sgt. David Ker sent a letter to his mother

the day before the attack on Saint-Mihiel, France. He wanted to keep his

family’s spirits up:

“Tomorrow the first totally American drive commences, and it gives me

inexpressible joy and pride to know that I shall be present to do my

share….Should I go under, therefore, I want you to know that I went

without any terror of death and my chief worry is the grief my death

will bring to those so dear…”

4. A WWII letter~

Tommie Kennedy, 2nd Lt., only 21, knew he would not come home alive.

He was captured by the Japanese at Corregidor and spent nearly 3 years

as a P.O.W. He was ‘fatally malnourished and incarcerated on a ship.’

Kennedy scribbled a farewell message to his parents on two family

photographs:

“Momie & Dad:

It is pretty hard to check out this way without a fighting chance

but we can’t live forever. I’m not afraid to die, I just hate the

thought of not seeing you again.

Buy Turkey Ranch with my money and just think of me often while

you are there… make liberal donations to both sisters…

I guess you can tell Patty that fate just didn’t want us to

be together…

Hold a nice service for me in Bakersfield and put head stone

in new cemetery…

Loving and waiting for you in the world beyond.”

This letter was smuggled from one POW to another and it was

finally mailed, getting there in late 1945. Four years after

Tommie had left home to be in the service.

5. A Vietnam War letter~

Lt. Dean Allen wrote to his wife, Joyce, on July 10, 1967.

“…Being a good platoon leader is a lonely job…” Pondering his

position and not being able to discuss things with her, he said,

“I guess it (writing a letter) helps a little though because you

are the only one I would say these things to. Maybe sometime I’ll

even try to tell you how scared I have been or now… Sometimes,

I wonder how I’ll make it. My luck is running way too good right

now. I just hope it lasts…”

He tells his wife, “I love you with all my heart.” Four days later,

Dean stepped on a land mine.

6. An Afghanistan War letter~

Mainly during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, service members have

usually ‘Skyped’ or emailed letters. There have been some exceptions,

for which it helps for posterity’s sake, to have them as examples of

this period in wartime. Sgt. Josh Harapko, with the 10th Mountain

Division, preparing to be part of coalition forces, for Operation

Anaconda, was 23 years old. A major assault on the Taliban and al-Qaida

was planned, before advancing into one of the worst Afghan campaigns,

he wrote this letter to his mother dated March, 2002:

“Dear Mom,

I’m writing this letter before I leave. I couldn’t say what I

wanted to over the phone. First I want to say I love you so much.

You were always there for me even though I would never talk about

my problems.

Second you gave me the options to be a man, giving me slack in the

rope to try to make the right decisions. No matter what you always

believed in me, no matter how much of a punk I was to you…

I don’t want you to worry about me. (I know you will cause I’m your

son.)

Mom, I’m not afraid to die for something that is right… I just hope

that I made you proud… I’ll always be with you…”

This young man, Josh, survived combat in Afghanistan but died exactly

one year later, on March 11, 2003. His Black Hawk helicopter crashed,

during a training mission at Fort Drum, N.Y. Shortly before he died,

he had given his mother this letter. She cherishes it.

The words of the nearly dying and the ones who fought for our country

are very brave and sure in their convictions. I am in awe and amazement;

there is such selfless-ness through their written correspondences.

Andrew Carroll’s words are good ones to close this article and to give

a summarization:

“On a more personal level, these correspondences provide a tangible

connection to the past and humanize our men and women in uniform,

capturing their distinct personalities, experiences and aspirations.

Through their words, we see them as more than just soldiers, Marines,

airmen and sailors. They are a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse,

a fiancé or a best friend.”

May this fine and early tribute, through Andrew Carroll’s words,

to all of our servicemen and women, living and gone ahead, a week

early…

for Memorial Day, 2014.