Monday, May 30, 2011

Paying tribute to our veterans

Janet Tronstad here and I am honored to be able to post on Memorial Day. I'm going to make it a day for us to give tributes to those we know and love who fought in wars to serve our country. I'll start with my own tribute -- to my father. He's 85 tears old now, but when he was 18 he signed up to go to Europe and fight in World War II. When I was growing up, I don't remember him ever talking about the war. But as he's gotten older, the memories are with him and he will talk about flashes of what happened.

How one day, in the battle of Mentz in France, he has his troop were walking/marching by a wine shop. Windows were blown out of all the shops and the town was deserted as fighting had been going on for days. But there was one undamaged bottle of wine standing in the now windowless display. He remembers marveling that none of his fellow soldiers reached over and took the bottle. Later that night, he recalls the fighting and in the morning discovering that the German soldiers they had killed were little older than 12 or 13. It was close to the end of the war and the Germans had lowered the age of soldiers (and, as I mentioned, my father was only 18 himself).

Another recollection was the feeling of clean sheets in the field hospital where he'd been sent after being wounded. They made him feel like he was in heaven. And, he'd recall the terror and horrible pain of being hit by a round of machine gun fire in his elbow and foot. A soldier close to him had been hit and, when falling, his weapon had continued firing and hit my father. As painful as it was though it saved my fathers life as his fellow soldiers were almost all killed in a big battle the day after he was sent to the hospital.

I'm glad we have a day to remember the stories and graves of soldiers. If you'd care to share a tribute to someone, please post here. Or share a few words of thanks if you'd like for the sacrifice our soldiers made. I particularly look at the World War II vets like my father and wonder what the world would have been like without them.

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