Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day -- A Time to Remember

These two little framed mementos have been hanging out in my guest bedroom since Craig's mom gave them to us in April 2008. She seemed to be shedding a lot of belongings when we were there and talking about how that might be the last time she saw us. We thought it was strange at the time because she wasn't ill. But she did subsequently die this last January after a major heart attack in December. I think some people must have some type of premonition.

Anyway, these were mementos given to Craig's grandmother (his father's mother) when her sons were serving in the Army in WWII. On the back of each it says

As a token of our loyalty and respect to the member of your family who serves in the Armed Forces of America. Courtesy of Hulpieu-Morgan Funeral Home, Dodge City.

The two were evidently given at different times. The stars represent how many sons a mother had serving at the time in WWII. For example, Craig's grandmother was referred to as a two-star and then a three-star mother because of her sons' service. I'd never seen these framed star mementos before, and I was thrilled when his mom sent them home with us.

I thought Memorial Day weekend would be the perfect time for this post when we're all remembering our loved ones who served. Craig's dad served in the South Pacific fighting the Japanese in the islands. He never talked much about it, but I do know that he never cared for Asian food after that. In fact, he objected to it! Recently, at Craig's mom's funeral, his uncle (father's brother) told us that actually when Craig's dad came home from the war, he was really ill with malaria for quite awhile. By the time he recovered, he had a really hard time finding a decent job because all the other returning soldiers had already scooped up the good jobs. That's something we'd never heard him mention. Being the daughter of a WWII veteran, I think a lot of us Baby Boomers never gave much thought to the hardship our dads endured at such a young age so far away from home. I remember as a child hanging out at the VFW when my dad went to meetings. I had no idea what VFW really meant. Below are a couple of photos of Craig's dad. I'll post some of my dad on Memorial Day.

Craig's Dad in the South Pacific

The Brothers McHugh shortly after the war ended.


Jamqueen said...

My father-in-law was a prisoner of war in Burma & was never the same after he came home--hated the Japanese with a passion the rest of his life! Both my parents served during WWII--Dad was in Europe & Mom in Washington, DC. Have learned alot in the last few years about when Mom was in the service--how hard it was for her to get her Mother to let her join--she ended up waiting til she turned 21 & could go in on her own!
She recently did a dvd with an organization where she lives about her time in the WAVES--very interesting!

jeanie said...

What a great post Beck! Looking forward to tomorrows. Have a wonderful day!