Wednesday, November 10, 2010

VETERANS DAY

Celebrating the Americans and the institutions that keep us free.  We were surrounded by incredible people that we really knew little about.  Fred Giles, already mentioned, Battle of the Bulge, Burchell Hopkin, B-52 pilot, Dawson also already mentioned, Mel Cozzens a bomber pilot(?), young Mel, Air Force Viet Nam, Sinclair Orendorff, Battle of the Bulge.  I believe the list to be much longer and if you remember please add on to it.

Then of course there is Dwight discussed joining the Marines well past my bedtime with the folks.  I stayed and listened until Mother realized that I was still up and sent me packing.  I do remember that Dwight was passionate in his conversation.  And we move on to modern day, there is Ross who spent a tour in Afghanistan and has landed on almost any runway in the world that would support a plane.

The above photo is merely for illustration  only.  I don't mean to slight anyone here, I know so little, please add, it is a great part of our lives.

14 comments:

Ann said...

When I opened the blog this afternoon I had to take a very big deep breath, but that didn't stop the tears. For me, this is a haunting portrayal of the sacrifices that have been made by so many. Veteran's Day often seems to get lost any more, so I am thankful for the reminder and thankful to live in a country where people are willing to make incredible sacrifices because they believe in what our country was founded on. Thank you to all who have given so much, and thank you, Steve, for this posting.

Judy said...

I look at that gaunt face, lips swollen from the sun, but most of all it is the eyes that tell the story. Tears drip down the side of my face.
In past days, our family heritage includes those who fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Family or not, we honor them all. Thank you.......

Elizabeth said...

It's difficult to add to these poignant thoughts. During World War II, our little family was only affected by the shortages, and the frightening news that came without ceasing. Except for the Johnson cousins, one (George?) who served in the navy, I didn't realize that anyone around us was actually fighting in that war. My fear of the war was of the enemy coming to get us - nightmare times. Then came Korea, and friends in college avoided conscription - but Ron was drafted - skills he had kept him Stateside during that war. We all lived through Vietnam, worrying about Steve, and not quite understanding the experiences that he had to undergo just to survive, but seeing some of the effects as he came back and worked to find his way in ordinary life. We've watched as Ross and people from our community have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan, come back, some wounded in body, but all changed in their lives. Our hearts go out to all of those past and present who have served our country so well. Thank you, Steve, for this posting and this reminder. It is appropriate that what was once known as Armistice Day to celebrate the ending of World War I (once known as the Great War), to Veteran's Day, remembering all of those who sacrificed so much for our freedoms.

Louise Blood said...

I wish to say Amen to what everyone has said so well, and so much better than I could. I had some of those same thoughts this morning as I looked out my front window and saw the flag that is posted in my yard by the Boy Scouts, and the thrill it gives me to see the red, white, and blue. And then I saw your picture and read your posting, Steve, and along with the comments and my own memories and fears of WW II, I am deeply touched and grateful for the sacrifices of so many, sacrifices that are beyond my comprehension, and I reap the benefits by seeing the flag in my front yard.

Steve Blood said...

Add Doc Stahn to the list, World War I.

Steve Blood said...

I forgot to add one more from my generation, Curt Ando a product of the Heart Mountain camp. His father became the top sugar beet grower on the Powell flat. Curt was a straight A student and a world class guy. He died in Viet Nam,a victim of friendly fire.

Mel said...

Thanks for posting these important memories Steve. I often think of you and me serving in vietnam at the same time --- and working inside the MACV I compound. You, Mike Livengood (Worland/Powell), Rick Martin, Tom Sand, my cousin from Casper Marvin Good, our cousin Ken Good who flew missions into vietnam - we were all there at the same time --- and each came back in different ways and with different impacts on our lives and possibly the lives of others. Tom's and Curt's deaths were the hardest to handle --- still are. We were/are among the 'Freedom's Warriors' - among those who care enough to make a difference.

Steve Blood said...

Mel Cozzens was a fighter ace, surviving being shot down over Okinawa. ( young Mel helped me out.)

Dwight said...

I've thought a lot about what to add here. Korea erupted in June 1950, one year after graduating from high school. I barely escaped WWII, when former high school students would come in uniform to visit the high school and then go back to active duty and then get shipped home in a box. From the time the Korean war broke out,the question among college friends and acquaintances at the U of Wyo was not if we would go, but when. Wyo had an infantry ROTC unit, and many students took 4 years of ROTC at school. I took 2 yrs., opted out of the last 2. Many joined the navy to escape the infantry. Deferments were fairly common for a couple of years, but by senior year, we were being drafted right out of school. In Feb. 1953, I was married, baby on the way, and a senior, and I was drafted and sent to Denver for a pre-induction physical, which I failed. I have thought so many times over the years about the irony: I am still alive even though unable to pass the physical nearly 50 years ago, and many of my schoolmates and friends were lost because they had no health problems. I feel a tinge of guilt and even unfairness about how it all worked out. My Powell friend and freshman roommate at UW, Felix Bessler, became a helicopter pilot and a career military officer, flying countless missions in Korea and Vietnam.

I saw the other side of war during Vietnam. Young men flocked to college to get deferments, many having no intention of getting an education. Many were unruly students, dressed abominably,reeked, looked like cavemen, smoked pot and created havoc around universities. At Colo St. U, I found a note with a threat pinned to the lectern with a knife in my classroom of 300 students. Another threat was posted on my office door, and I found someone, student or not, with a complete set of professional burglary tools trying to get into my office one night. Several faculty had their car windows smashed, their tires and upholstery slashed. I turned down the best job offer of my life, a professorship at the U of Michigan business school, because of the turmoil and rebellion going on in Ann Arbor and at the U of M, not wanting to put my kids in the middle of it. These students were in sharp contrast to those who willingly sacrificed their lives and courageously served their country, although many of them also ultimately were drafted.

We knew very little about Steve's military experiences, so his time in Vietnam was just sort of abstract to us, although I was horrified when learning he was sent there. I lost many students and friends and classmates to Korea and Vietnam. They would be gone from class one day and even a short time later, we would learn they would not be coming home. We never recover from the losses and have infinite respect and appreciation for those who served and sacrificed.

Mel's comment adds a poignant note to these comments. The Cozzens family occupied a special place in our hearts, and Mel has been a loyal friend to Steve and supporter of our family all these years.

Now my young grandson joined the Army last week . . .

Judy said...

Here it is: Friday, and this is no easier to read without great emotion. Dwight, which grandson? We need to talk.

Ann said...

Thank you for being good people who can share thoughts and feelings that stir the heart and serve as a genuine reminder of what life is all about - becoming better and stronger each day because that is what we know we are to do, even when it is difficult.
Steve and I were connected in so many ways through our growing up years and I tried really hard to ignore the fact that he was in harms way because I knew there was nothing I could do about it. Mel Cozzens was a dear friend - he was the wrangler at Blackwater Lodge the summer I worked there. Good memories.
Paul did receive notice to report in early 1965, but by the time he was to go, the twins had been born, and he was not called up because he had two children.
Isn't it interesting how our lives continue to be affected by events that many young people in today's world have difficulty understanding.
Dwight, which grandson?

Elizabeth said...

This sharing gets deeper and more special. Isn't it odd how some of us were wrapped up in our own survival, and worried about Steve and others in the abstract - until it really hit us a few years later what was at stake. I remember seeing the news clips of the helicopters leaving Saigon, with people on the ground clutching for the planes, wanting to leave, and knowing what was in store for them if they stayed. We have lived our lives in turbulent times - sometimes insulating ourselves for our own survival. Thanks to all of you for the sharing.

Dwight said...

Russell's son whose name, ironically, is Stephen and also, ironically, he's in MP training.

Dwight said...
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