Friday, November 11, 2011

My Veteran's Day Story

This one was a favorite tale around my family, and gets circulated at Veteran's Day every year.

My great-grandmother (known to me as "Great Grandma E") had three sons who lived to adulthood: Fred, David, and my grandfather Ralph.  All three served in World War II.  Ralph was in the Army Air Corps and flew cargo planes in the Middle East.  David joined the Marines and ended up at Iwo Jima.  Fred joined the Coast Guard and was stationed on a hospital ship.

So David is at Iwo Jima, fighting in the trenches in that long siege.  One day he's sitting there in the trenches and he sees a empty can of peaches a few feet away.  Now they had told him that you were supposed to bury your cans in the dirt so that the Japanese couldn't see the reflection.  So he crawled over to where the can was and started covering it with dirt.  Well, a shell landed right where he can been, so the can of peaches saved his life.  Unfortunately he did take some shrapnel in the leg from the shell and was evacuated to a hospital ship: Fred's.

When Fred saw his brother's name on the list of injured on board, he requested that he be assigned to his brother's care.  He also sent a note to his mother, saying that David was hurt but was going to be okay.

Fred went on to become a scientist for NASA, and worked on the Apollo program.
David became one of the nation's best woodcarvers.  You can see his carved birds in the natural history section of the Smithsonian.  He also built the "Fairy Tale" attraction at Busch Gardens.
Ralph opened a sheet metal shop in Florida and spent most of his free time making things like telescopes and pedal cars for his grandchildren.

But brother caring for brother?  That's what Veteran's Day is all about.

--WQRobb

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