Thursday, November 11, 2010

Family Photo Thursday - Veteran's Day

There were 2 great photos from the fabulous albums appropriate to share for Veteran's Day. The first is likely my Uncle Julius as it is labeled "Seattle, 1957" on the back. Uncle Julius was in the US Navy and was definitely stationed in Seattle in the 1950's.

I found 2 great ship logs like this indicating his positions were Eng/Utility and Wiper as he traveled from Yokohama, Japan and Busan, Korea and Kobe, Japan and Okinawa to Seattle and then from Seattle to Inchon Korea Via Pusan Korea and Yokokaha, Japan. They are from 1952.

And here is a picture my father-in-law took a few Christmases ago at a tiny bar in Hudson. This is me and Mike Vinich, owner of 2 Hudson bars and a former brothel, dirty joke teller, staunch democrat and proud veteran.

And here's an interview with Mike Vinich undertaken by the Casper Tribune about his service.

However, one of Mike's favorite stories to tell should you saunter into either the El Toro or The Union is this story about his role in the nomination of Kennedy, whom he had met when Kennedy's boat had rescued him during WWII. Kennedy called to ask Mike to rally WY for his support and Mike felt he couldn't say no as Kennedy had saved his life.

And speaking of this tiny town of Hudson (pop. ~407 in 2000) here is an old picture of the service for their Veteran's Memorial park. Sadly I don't have a good estimate of the year but may try to do some digging over Thanksgiving (aka drinks at the bar with Mike) to determine maybe a date for this photo and identify people some people.

Little has changed at the park, except now there are white crosses that adorn the front fence in memory of WY soldiers who have died since 9/11. One belongs to Chance Phelps. The film "Taking Chance" was based on the story of the officer who accompanied Chance's body back for his funeral in Dubois, WY. Another belongs to John Edmunds, an elementary school classmate and soccer teammate of mine from Cheyenne who was killed in a helicopter accident in Afghanistan in October 2001.

And last but not least, Matthew with his favorite Marine.

Our family was very blessed to have our soldiers return home with minor wounds. Though our family headstones are graced with military service honors and flags on holidays, our men came back to their wives and families and lived long lives filled with farming, raising children and grandchildren. However, as more of my family's WWII veterans and their wives opened up about the war, it is clear that the wounds we never saw from combat were far from minor as they lived nightmares that we can't even fathom.

I am thankful and proud of their service in ways I've spent the last hour writing and rewriting but can't express because it doesn't feel right to discuss the "unspoken" costs of war on these families without feeling guilty because at least they were lucky enough to come home. So I leave you with this quote from Jose Narosky in hopes we all remember that in the democracy our soldiers fight for, we all can have a voice about what our soldiers fight for and it is everyone's duty to help ensure we are wounding as few soldiers as possible fighting for causes we believe in.

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers

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