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Thursday, November 11, 2010


My dad (2nd from right) during the 1930s
My dad grew up in Oklahoma during the Great Depression, the second of six children. Raised on a farm, he has talked about doing without and once marveled at how his mother could feed a family of eight with only one can of salmon. He was too young to enter WWII, but after he graduated from high school, he did a three year hitch in the US Army and was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska a good part of that time. One of his favorite memories was shaking hands with Gen. Eisenhower. He married my mom when he got out of the Army, but when I was six months old, was recalled to serve in Korea. I've tried to find the picture of him there (I know my sister copied it and gave it to me, but I can't find it - sigh).

My dad today working in his shop
Over the years my dad's been a hero to me in many ways, but fighting in a war and not knowing whether he would ever see my mom or me again must have haunted many of his nights as he built bridges and tramped through the rice patties of Korea. I really can't imagine. A simple thank you seems frail and inadequate. I only know that I'm grateful that he survived not only the Depression, but also the rigors of war.

Brett on CG Cutter off the coast of Alaska

I have a present day hero as well.
Our son, Brett, has been in the US Coast Guard for fifteen years. His cutter assisted in the Indonesian tsunami relief; he's served a year in Bahrain, pursued pirate ships off the coasts of Africa and Belize, and stepped foot on nearly every continent. He leads a life of adventure, but I know, too, that he is doing a worthy work, something for which I, as a regular citizen, have a poor concept of. I don't tell him thank you often enough.

For veterans and troops across our land and those overseas, I salute you. May God bestow on you the crown of glory for your sacrifice and loyalty to our great country.


Courtney Walsh said...

Carla, wow. i didn't know your son was in the coast guard. I am fascinated by the coast guard. My dad is a veteran too...we owe them so much. :)

Nicole Unice said...

I love these pictures Carla! I come from a military family and I am so thankful for the service of the men and women of our armed forces. Thanks for taking time to remember...we all need to pray for the soldiers and their loved ones as they continue to stand in harm's way for our country and for freedom!

Jodie said...

Amen, and Amen! Many thanks to your son and to your dad too. My husband is in Afghanistan right now. I was talking to a mom from our unit the other day about how it's hard enough with my husband deployed, but I can't imagine my child being there! God bless you all! And THANK YOU!!!!

carla stewart said...

Courtney, Brett wanted to be in the Coast Guard from the time he was a little kid. He's been around the world and seen some wonderful things and a lot of sad ones too.

Nicole, thanks for the comment, friend! We've had quite a lot of people in the military from our family too. Army, Navy, Coast Guard. Uncles, nephews, dads, and sons. It takes a special person to be in the service, I think.

Oh Jodie, you must miss your husband terribly. Tell your husband thank you for serving, and I pray he returns safely.

emily wierenga said...

thank you for making rememberance day mean more to me, dear carla. i'm so glad to have 'met' you :)

Sharon's Mom said...

I was moved by your memories. My favorite uncle, a navy man, served in Vietnam. My great uncle served in the army for 35 years. My sister (whom I couldn't locate for the first time since we were toddlers till I was age 45) has told me of her many adventures during her 31 years in the navy. My grandfather who raised me was not able to serve in the military because of a heart murmur. However, he always taught me to have the greatest respect for our troops. He worked as a boiler equipment mechanic on navy ships for 33 years. I salute him as well. Most of all, I am reminded that no matter how tough the struggles of life may seem, I will keep fighting till God calls me home. If my example helps another weary soldier on this journey, the fight has been worthwhile.

carla stewart said...

emily - so glad you stopped by. In all our busyness of life, we don't take time to say thanks to our men and women in the military.

Sharon, thanks for sharing your memories. Our freedom is never guaranteed. I'm thankful for those who are willing to keep our country strong.