My family has many veterans in it,some still with us and some who have passed. Rick's family has veterans in it going as far back as the 1600's,when the French and Indian Wars were being fought.My family didn't arrive here in the States until the late 1800's,so our military past is not as long as his family,but we have done our share.
Although I am sure I had some members fight in WW I,no one has ever told me about them,so I have no direct knowledge of it. I know my Grandfather Lessard signed up for the draft,but he was never called up. My Dad was just a young boy,having been born in 1914.
Veterans Day stemmed from WW I. On the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918,a temporary armistice was signed,which was in effect until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919,officially ending WW I,or,as it was called then,The War to End All Wars.No one could imagine another war being fought on that scale and magnitude. (Sad to say that would not last). The first official Armistice Day was signed in 1919 by President Wilson. In 1921,the Tomb of the Unknown Solider was created,and on November 11 of that year,Congress declared it a legal holiday in honor of the Tomb for all who fought in WW I. In 1938,Congress passed legislation making November 11 a legal federal holiday,known as Armistice Day. Up to then,it had been moved around a bit,and the states had control over if they celebrated it or not,which the majority did. Then WW II happened. In 1954,President Eisenhower signed legislation declaring that November 11 would be known as Veterans Day,to honor all Veterans who served.This became a national,Federal holiday that all states observe.
This is a photo of my Dad with some of his gun squad.He is in the very front. He was in the 197th Coastal Anti Aircraft Artillery during WW II,and like I mentioned in a previous post,he was stationed in New Guinea.This photo was taken when he was stationed at Camp Hulen,Texas,training,before they left for Australia.His brother,my Uncle Valmore,was in the Army as well,but he was in Hawaii,where he was killed by a fellow soldier who was cleaning his rifle.The rifle had a round in it,and when my Uncle Valmore walked into the tent,the gun accidentally went off,killing him. He was the first person from our town of Somersworth killed during WW II. The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post in Somersworth is named the Gagnon-Lessard post ( first to die in both World Wars).
My Dad,come to find out,served in the same unit with my mother's Uncle Robert. My mother still wonders to this day how Uncle Robert got into the service,considering he was hard of hearing,but somehow he did.When he had to fire the big anti artillery gun,my Dad would tap him on the shoulder. (My parents didn't meet until after my Dad got back from the war).
My dad's brother,Bobby,served in the Korean War in the Army.My Uncle Bobby was very nice,but suffered from PTSD. From what family has said,he was in a convoy which was attacked,and he saw his friends get blown up. I am sure there is a bit more to the story,but that is all I know. He spent some time in a psych hospital,and struggled with it the rest of his life.
My Dad's sister,Margaret,was either in the WACs or was a WAVE...which one escapes me at the moment.
My oldest brother,Valmore,joined the Army and was sent to the DMZ in Korea during the Vietnam War.My sister's husband,Tom,was in the Air Force and flew tankers,and was stationed in South Vietnam at Ton San Nuht (spelled wrong?) air base. My brother Dennis was in the Sea Bees,and went to either Saudi Arabia or Kuwait as support during Desert Storm.
Then we have my hubby.....
Rick joined the Army National Guard in 1981,and then went into the regular Army,in the 4/325th Airborne Combat Team in Italy.Then,when he got back to the States,he was put in the 82nd Airborne. He got out,and then went into the Army National Guard in 2000. He then went to Iraq in 2005,where he was Scout. While there he was wounded,earning him the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Badge. As you long time readers of my blog know,he suffers from chronic PTSD and a brain injury.
My father in law,Dick,was in the Coast Guard and participated as support during the Bay of Pigs.Rick's Uncle George (husband to his Aunt Linda)was a prisoner of war during Vietnam. Rick and Brother B remember watching TV to see if his name would be with the list of POW's released. Dick's brother, Ray,also served in Vietnam in the Army. Brother B was in the Army National Guard,and came thisclose to going to Granada,but it was over really before it began.
As you can see, both the Lessards and Shaws have many veterans in them,and I haven't even written about them all.
Thank you,veterans,for defending this country of ours...we are the land of the free because of the you,the brave.