I want to take this opportunity to thank my Father, my Uncles, my Husband, our friend Colonel Bob and all veterans who have served and protected our great Country.
My Father’s Story
When my Father enlisted in World War 11, he lied about his age. He was only 17. He was not along in his lie. I have discovered many others did the same. My sisters and I learned that our Father received the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying over “the Hump”. We had no idea the importance of that until many years later. While flying with my parents to San Juan a young Air Force Captain started chatting with my Dad. As they were talking “war stories”, the Captain literally saluted my Father and thanked him for his bravery.
Of course, I then did my research. The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in China. Creating an airlift presented the USAAF a considerable challenge in 1942: it had no units trained or equipped for moving cargo, and no airfields existed in the China Burma India Theater (CBI) for basing the large number of transports that would be needed. Flying over the Himalayas was extremely dangerous and made more difficult by a lack of reliable charts, an absence of radio navigation aids, and a dearth of information about the weather. My father got his medal for flying in and out of Burma with Merrill’s Marauders.
My husband Walter had a very different experience. He was in Vietnam. As we all know, the Vietnam War was a war nobody wanted. Walter spent 18 months doing everything from fighting in the jungles to entertaining the troops. Because he had been in college, he was drafted at 24 years old in December of ‘68. In January the rules changed and “younger” men were drafter first. WJJ was just lucky enough to be at the tail end of the draft. While certainly the thoughts of leaving family, friends and a career to engage in a war that was being constantly protested was not something WJJ particularly wanted to do, he knew the importance of serving his Country. So off he went. And he is justifiably very PROUD of his service. In fact he has a Veteran’s License plate.
BTW, WJJ came to Hawaii for R & R and I joined him here. That’s how he fell in love with Hawaii and why we are here. Interesting isn’t it?
Everyone has a story. And every person who is or was in the Military has a fascinating story. My Uncle Will (90 years young) also served in World War 11. He was stationed in Bermuda the whole time. Perhaps it’s because he was the youngest of six brothers all of whom were serving at the same time. Of course my Aunt Cora (89 years young) still gives him “crap” about it.
Again, let me say “Thank you” to all our military past and present. I hope you do as I do–whenever I see anyone in uniform, I stop and thank him or her. When I find out that I am speaking to a wife or husband of someone currently serving in the Military, I thank them as well. All too often we forget how difficult it must be for family to be separated for months on end. And finally, today would be a great day to send a donation to “Wounded Warriors” or ‘Fisher House Foundation” or “Home for Our Troops”. Remember actions speak louder than words.