America: land of the free and home of the brave!
Today is Veterans Day. After church (I attend the Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene just north of York off of Susquehanna Trail), I drove over to Gettysburg to lead a walking tour of East Cemetery Hill for fifteen wargamers from the massive wargaming convention that had just concluded. I spoke for about 90 minutes, stopping at various places on East Cemetery Hill to describe the Union defenses and the determined attack by half of Jubal Early’s veteran division on the evening of July 2. We closed at the monument to the 7th West Virginia Infantry, a regiment that contained my grandmother’s uncles and several of their cousins), where I paused with the attendees to remember that it is Veterans Day. What could be more fitting – bright sunshine, crisp autumn air, several good friends, and a chance to reflect at Gettysburg on the sacrifices of our ancestors?
I come from a very long line of soldiers, and I am thankful for each one for their service to our country. My father was a Staff Sergeant in the Eastern Theater in World War II, and served throughout Normandy, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and finally western Germany before finishing the war down in Frankfurt. He died more than two years ago at the age of 91, but I still miss him terribly. His example of Christian love, faithfulness, family values, and patriotism will ring forever in my life. Thanks Dad! See you in Paradise someday!
Dad’s uncle Sanford was gassed at Ypres in World War I, but lived to come back to Ohio, although his health was forever impaired. The Chambers boys of Marshall County, West Virginia, my grandma’s uncles, fought at Antietam and Gettysburg. My great-great-great grandfather William Mingus fought under Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans at the end of the War of 1812. His father, my fourth great-grandfather and a third generation descendant of a German immigrant, was a private in the 1st New York Line Infantry during the American Revolution and fought in several battles in upstate New York.
History has always been important to my family, and I am so very proud on this Veterans Day to pause to reflect on their memory and their service.
And, to all of you Cannonball readers who are veterans of the armed forces, I humbly salute you and thank you for your devotion to America and for your courage and sacrifice in giving of yourselves to serve our country. Three cheers to each of you! Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!
What branch of the service were you in? Where were you stationed? Any good memories of the armed forces?