Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering soldiers and sailors on Memorial Day

My house has a long hallway from the breezeway door into the dining room and kitchen. It's the utilitarian side of the house, a blank wall on one side and a laundry room on the other. Just right for pictures of family and the girls. Somewhere along the way, it became the family history wall, I guess because I'm the only daughter and have become the repository for the photographs of my ancestors - stern German immigrants, early 20th century party girls, and a collection of soldiers and sailors. They are my family history and because I walk by them every day of my life, their names and faces are as familiar as my children's.

Because all these soldiers and sailors made it home from their wars, this post is probably more appropriate for Veteran's Day, but I can't help thinking that even when soldiers and sailors come home, they've given more than most to keep us safe and comfortable. So I send a heartfelt thanks to all soldiers, sailors and their families, especially the families whose sons and daughters have given their lives to this country.

My husband's grandfather, D.B. Mercer, Sr., who survived WWI, only to die young in Macon, Georgia.

My grandfather, E.C. Eggert, Sr., who served in France in WWI, came home and died at age 89 in Nashville, Tennessee.

My husband's uncle, Lewis Howard ,and his wife Bernice, Macon, Georgia.

D.B. Mercer, Jr., was a decorated pilot in WWII, stationed in England.

D.B. Mercer, Jr., in WWII. He was stationed in  England and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
 For Veteran's Day 2010, I wrote about D.B., the father-in-law I never knew. Going through the papers from his time in the service was fascinating and humbling, and brought someone who I only knew through stories, to a version of life. Whenever I encounter a veteran or meet someone of the "Greatest Generation," I always ask about their service - some folks will talk and some won't. I've met helicoptor pilots and nurses who served in Vietnam, poor country boys from Georgia who served on ships in the North Atlantic, a paratrooper who made 13 jumps in WWII. And after I've heard their stories, I thank them for their service. It's the least I can do.

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer.

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