Tuesday, May 31, 2016
His career spanned 23 years in the United States Air Force. He was a Air Policeman, Personal Clerk, Navigator Bombardier and a Plans and Operations Navigator. He had many Temporary Duty Stations: Spain, England and NATO Countries. He served nine months in Vietnam. He went into the Air Force a Private and retired a Major.
He says “God was my navigator!”
He gave a fine speech.
I won’t share every story he told….but a few.
As a small child he recalls going to the cemeteries on “Decoration Day” with his Mother and flowers she had gathered. (No doubt Lilacs, Iris and Peony as that is what is blooming most years the last Monday in May.)
December 7, 1941. The family had a small Coronado radio that kept them updated on the events of the war. The batteries were as large as the radio. Soon his oldest brother would be working at the B26 Bomber Plant in Omaha Nebraska, another brother was in the Army stationed in Kodiac Alaska, his other brother was his eighth grade teacher.
About his time spent at Bien Hoa AFB in Vietnam…he was never so glad to get out of anyplace in his life. When he returned to San Francisco, he was the only Air Force Soldier, the other soldiers on the plane were Marines and Army that had busses to pick them up. Arch had to go through Customs and the Terminal. Outside on the street he was confronted by college age protesters asking how many babies he killed. He told them when they got a little older they would understand.
When his speech was over he got a standing ovation.
There was a ceremony at the Rusty Bridge Park(Red Bridge) and a wreath was thrown into the waters of the Fish Hook River. I heard the gun salute and Taps being played but I never saw the splash of the wreath landing in the water.
Far Guy said “Years ago it was a large wreath and they threw it off the bridge on Hwy 34.”
Monday, May 30, 2016
The flags at Greenwood Cemetery.
Thank you soldiers that gave your all and didn’t return home, Thank you soldiers who returned from battles, Thank you to all the soldiers for serving our country.
Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
God is nigh.
Go to sleep,
May the soldier
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.
Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
To their rest.
Fades the light;
And the stars
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
The smallest Yellow Lady’s Slipper is blooming.
We saw one clump on a local road. So we stopped for the photo op.
Cypripedium parviflorum var. makasin or Small Yellow Lady’s-slipper.
They are the first of the native Orchids to bloom. Most of the time I am too late for a good photo of them. This slipper is small 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches long at the slipper or bowl part.
This time of year you have to be quite observant to find them as they blend in with the Dandy’s that are blooming it the ditch.
It is a Native to Minnesota Wildflower.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
We spent most of the day yesterday at cemeteries. We visited six yesterday and three the day before. We took along a bucket and a butcher kife, many of the grave markers needed a good edging.
This marker was rescued. I remember one time when I was little and this grave was near the fence (the fence has been moved back now) and the grave marker was not visible so my Dad hunted for it and cleared it off. This is my Dad’s brother who died when he was six months old. Some of these old stones should be raised up.
After wandering around a while we finally found Far Guy’s Great Grandparents on his fathers side of the family.
The Fern-leaf Peony is almost past bloom in the cemetery just down the road.
The blooms are smaller than a regular Peony.
Friday, May 27, 2016
The day began at the WWII Memorial.
The WWII Memorial honors 16 million who served in WWII.
The Field of Stars. There are 4,048 Gold Stars that pay tribute to more than 405,000 American lives. My Dad’s brother Arthur was one of those lives lost.
Here they are by the Minnesota Column.
Dad at the FDR Memorial
Dad and FDR
Dad at the Korean War Memorial. Dad looked for the BAR man and wanted his photo taken. Dad said “It was just like that on patrol.”
The Granite Wall has more than 2,500 images sand blasted into it’s surface.
I asked my brother to leave photographs of my Dad in Korea,The Christmas Tree in Korea Christmas 1951, My Dad and I, my Uncle Arnold and Uncle Andrew who both served during the Korea War at the Korean Memorial. My brother added a few photos of his own. Jody said “As soon as I placed the photos, people started getting down on the ground to look at them and take photographs.”
Dad couldn’t get over all the people that thanked him, some with kisses and hugs. He met some South Korean people who thanked him for saving their country. He met school kids…he said “I must have shook 500 hands.”
Dad coming down the escalator at the airport in Fargo. There were Honor Guards, Flag carriers and wavers of all ages and a Brass Band.
It was a good trip and a good welcome home!
Thursday, May 26, 2016
In June of 2015 I printed out the paperwork for my Dad to go on the Honor Flight. He was reluctant because he doesn’t like to fly. My Mother was instrumental in talking him into going. The paperwork was submitted. He didn’t make it on the October 2015 flight but was notified that he would be on the next flight.
The Honor Flight idea began when Earl Morse a Physicians Assistant in Ohio saw that his WWII Veterans were not seeing their memorial. He started flying them himsef in 2005, he and his pilot friends personally transported 137 Vets to their memorial. Jeff Miller had a bigger vision of commercial planes filled with Veterans and The Honor Flight Network was born.
The WDAY Honor Flight is part of that network. Since May of 2007 there have been 5 trips that took 718 Vets and 537 escorts to Washington DC from Fargo North Dakota. The sixth trip May 2016 was the one my Dad and Brother were on and there were 94 Veterans. Each trip costs $150,000. Escorts pay $750. The Veteran pays nothing. Food, lodging and transportation are included.
The plane left from Fargo ND Hector International Airport on Sunday morning May 22 2016 and arrived in Washington DC to rain.
On the flight they were given letters of gratitude from family members and friends. Dad got ten letters. (He didn’t get mine because I entered an incorrect email address, but I gave it to Dad when he got back home.)
There was a Brass Band and many groups of people to meet them at the airport. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Veteran’s Groups…they were welcomed like the Heros they are!
They toured Arlington National Cemetery.
Dad said “There were so many grave markers, when they came next to a tree they just skipped over to where the next marker could be. It was awesome.”
My Dad and my other baby brother Jody.
They are at the tomb of The Unknown Soldier. Can you see the path worn into the stone…
My baby brother Carey has one son who lives very near Washington DC and another who lives in New Jersey. They met my Dad on the rainy Sunday afternoon.
Jody, Jena with Collins, Ben with Presley, Dad and Kirk. I believe Christine took this photo, she is my baby brother Carey’s sister in law.
They didn’t have a long visit but the boys got to see their Grandpa and their Uncle Jody, and the little girls got to see their Great Grandpa and Great Uncle.
The flag raising at Iwo Jima.
Dad said they drove around in the busses, the rain continued and everyone was getting wet and cold. They went back to their hotel and attended a banquet.
All photos were taken by my other baby brother Jody. He was a great escort for my Dad…he is big and strong and can push a wheelchair uphill! I could have gone but I passed the honor to my brother who is younger and stronger than me. The escort must be able to handle all the carry on baggage and a wheelchair.
The Wheel Chairs were donated by Sanford Health. My Dad is able to walk with a cane, but a wheel chair just makes it more comfortable and a bit faster for some of the old guys. There were a couple of Veterans on the trip who are wheel chair bound and they rode in a van with a wheel chair lift. There was a medical team of Doctors and Nurses that went along. They had four large tour busses and a Police Escort that cleared traffic for them.
The next day the sun came out for the Veterans. More on Day Two tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
I should have taken notes but I will recall what I can.
Dad registered for the draft when he was eighteen. He was supposed to go into the service but WWII ended, he was 24 years old when he was drafted and sent to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He married my Mother just a few days before he departed on October 16 of 1950. At Fort Leonard Wood he helped to clean out barracks. Soon he was off to Camp Pickett Virginia…where he cleaned out more barracks. Since the end of WWII nothing had been done in the Camps, they were filthy and in ill repair, after WWII ended the Camps were ignored…but now they were needed to train troops that would be sent to Korea. The first troops sent to Korea received no training, they were just sent to plug the holes until reinforcements could be trained.
At Christmas time 1950, my Mother took the train from Minnesota to Richmond Virginia. Near Camp Pickett they tried to find an apartment but were always turned away when landlords found out my Dad was in the military. My Mother returned to Minnesota alone..well not quite alone…my name could have been Virginia.
In February Dad got a leave and returned to Minnesota for a few days.
Then he shipped out for Korea the end of February 1951 he went from Camp Pickett by train to San Francisco and from there departed for Japan by boat. In Japan they boarded a plane for Korea, in Dads words “a rickety old cargo plane.”
He was assigned to the 5th RCT (Regimental Combat Team) and made it to the front lines, when he got there he was assigned to a young fellow who said “You are now a BAR assistant.” Dad didn’t know what a BAR was…Browning Automatic Rifle. Dad was good with hunting rifles so he was a good shot, since they were short of ammo they were told to make every shot count. In two weeks he was no longer an assistant.
Dad was supposed to be in Korea for three months. What you see in the photo above is what he was issued for clothing. The three months became six, the six became nine, the nine became twelve and finally after thirteen months of sleeping with one horse hair blanket in the mud and snow he was sent to Japan and from there after being deloused three times he was sent by boat to Seattle. There was no welcome there. He went to Camp Lewis in Washington, from there he was sent to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.
On leave he traveled by train to Frazee Minnesota, walked over to the Creamery where his brother Wilbert worked as a milk truck driver. Uncle Wilbert gave him a ride to my maternal grandparents home where my Mother was found with her hair up in pin curls, she went running upstairs to fix her hair…I was in the crib. It is said that “It was almost like she recognized her Dad right away, didn’t fuss or cry just sat in his lap.” I was six months old.
Dad had to go back to Wisconsin at Fort McCoy. He would return in two months on leave again.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Last night my Dad returned home on the WDAY Honor Flight from Washington DC. My other baby brother was his escort.
Some of us went to the airport to welcome him back. Far Guy, my Mom, my sister in law (She who sees Robins first), Cousin Art, my niece Stacey, my niece Megan and nephew Frank, and five of my great nieces and nephews oh ya and me.
It was a wonderful welcome, a band played and there were signs and flags.
These beautiful girls with their signs. Anna, Hailey and Olivia.
One of the littlest flag wavers, Teddy.
Kelly who is just three months old.
We were anxious to see them and welcome them back. We felt honored to be there to help with a Heros Welcome.
I will write more about the Honor Flight in the next few days.
Monday, May 23, 2016
The Trillium are in full bloom. There are areas in Northern Minnesota where they brighten the forest this time of year. We have a few in our area.
We saw them up near Lake George. They had city wide garage sales last Friday. Far Guy didn’t buy a thing and me well I bought more glass for flowers.
When we got home we checked out our Trillium and sure enough she was blooming….just one plant and one bloom. The seeds are said to be dispersed by insects…maybe someday we will have more plants.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Well you cannot stop them from growing or turning older.
Today Noah turns 17. How did that happen so fast?
This is the photo I put on his birthday card.
Uffda, so tall and so handsome!
Look at that smile! It seems like yesterday, but this photo was taken in August of 1999.
Noah and Grandpa having a serious talk about “man” stuff. I know you have probably seen this photo before but it is one of my favorites!
We had a lot to learn. About boys…Noah is our first Grandson…and since we only had girls ouselves and we made it through three granddaughters…boys were/are a bit different than girls. Easier…much easier. Just my opinion. Quieter too.
Happy 17th Birthday Noah!
I took this photo yesterday. We helped to celebrate his birthday a day early!
Noah, You are one of the kindest people I know. Responsible could have been your middle name. You are a wonderful gentleman and it is a pleasure to be your Grandmother.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
No luck with Bluebirds…yet. I never give up hope. However there are a few other blue visitors to our yard.
A Blue Jay must be passing through. We only see them occasionally during the winter. When he comes into the yard all the other birds leave.
And a sweet little Indigo Bunting…he likes the suet feeder. He has been here a few days, flying in and out of the yard. I wish he would stay…but I am certain he will move on.
Last night was a beautiful evening to sit outside and watch birds. There was no wind! No bugs…and about 67F or 19C eh!