Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: Ode To My Grandfathers

I'm sure many of you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend with lots of friends, food, and fun. I'm celebrating mine by relaxing with my Mother & husband. We even got some grilling in on Sunday.

But I wanted to express the importance of Memorial Day- to honor & remember the courageous men & women to gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country. Despite how you feel about our nation's politics, economy, or future, there should be no question about honoring our troops. I'm lucky enough to not have lost any friends or family to war, but I wanted to take the time to honor family members who have served.

Both of my grandfathers played their role in World War Two. My recent work in ancestry has lead to a lot of great stories & photos of them.

First there is my Grandpa Milliard T. Moses. He was actually enlisted before WWII, but when America entered the war, he volunteered to go back to the Army. He was a 31 year old banker and quickly married my Grandmother before re-enlisting. She was a teacher that met him at his bank in Southeastern Central Illinois.
Their wedding photo after getting married Dec. 1941
My grandfather was a Quaker and hated the thought of killing a man, but continued to served his country and helped patrol various locations along the west coat including in California & Alaska. My Mother mostly remembers him in charge of supplies along the Aleutian Islands (possibly Attu Island).
Millard Moses's ID card & dog tags for WWII
She says he never fought, but would have to prepare search parties when men would get stir crazy & leave the barracks. Most often those men would be found dead. After his second tour of duty, my Grandpa left the Army as a first lieutenant. We went home to a wife & a daughter, had two more children and lived a long life surrounded by loved ones. He died at the age of 89 in 2000.
Millard Moses holding my Mother
While Grandpa Moses patrolled in Alaska, my other Grandfather was half a world away in Europe. Grandpa William H. Swanson was a skilled airplane technician for the (then) Army Air Corps. He was a few years younger & little did he know of the world outside his West Central Illinois hometown.
William Swanson shortly after being drafted Feb. 1942
William Swanson's diploma from the Army Air Corps

William Swanson did a great job at documenting his journey from training in Louisiana to working & testing planes in England & Germany to inspecting damaged Nazi planes.

These are just a few from the possibly hundreds of photos he took. I'm still currently shifting through all of the photos & paperwork he left behind. But I do know that as a technician, he moved up the ranks to Staff Sergeant before returning home in 1945 on the S.S. Argentina.

After getting home, he met my Grandmother at a bar where she worked. The two got married & had two beautiful kids. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 88.
William Swanson holding my Dad with his wife, Marietta
There are a few others I know & love that have served our country including my stepbrother, Josh (Corporal for the Marines), old high school friend James Hall III (Navy), co-worker Jay Marchmon (Army), another co-worker Dillon Burnett (Army), and my husband's friend, John McAvinue (currently with the Navy). Thank you all.

I am so blessed to have such courageous family & friends who heroically served our country. I'm even more blessed that they all survived during duty. Every day, we should be thankful for the men & women who gave their all for our country & freedom. Who are you remembering today?

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