Musings and Amusings

Posts tagged ‘Veterans’ Day’

‘Up at the Legion’

Today, November 10, 2014 we celebrate the United States Marine Corps’ 239th birthday.

Tomorrow is Veterans’ Day when the United States honors all who have served in the US Armed Forces.

Below is a photo of my grandmother who bore twelve children, eleven of whom lived to adulthood and some of whom she watched with her steadfast fortitude and optimism as they left town on their way to distant battlefields.

Grandma and Marine Recruiter

Grandma and Marine Recruiter

 

During World War II, four sons enlisted in the Marines and were deployed to the Pacific Islands while one daughter enlisted and was stationed as a Marine recruiter in Chicago. Grandma also had two sons-in-law deployed in the Marines and Air Force, and a younger son who later joined the Marines.

Aunt Dot, Dad, Uncle Chuck, Uncle Art, Uncle Pep, Uncle Walt

Aunt Dot, Dad, Uncle Chuck, Uncle Art, Uncle Pep, Uncle Walt

 

During her sons’ deployments, Grandma – along with so many other women on the homefront – worked at Clark Equipment Co., a manufacturing plant that assisted in military support by transitioning its manufacturing lines to produce heavy duty lift trucks and towing tractors for overseas missions.

As a tribute to the Marine Corps birthday and Veterans’ Day, I’d like to honor Uncle Pep and a veterans’ organization – the American Legion – because they were an integral part of my childhood.

Small town life in the 1950s centered around school, church and a few civic organizations. For my family, that organization was the American Legion.

At the time, I couldn’t have told you much, if anything, about the American Legion’s purpose. All I knew was if we had a family Christmas party, summer family reunion, town Halloween party or just about any other local festivity, it would take place ‘up at the Legion.’

That was a phrase heard often in our house and those of my many cousins. The Legion – a nondescript one-story blond brick building with a large social hall, roomy kitchen with a pass-thru window and serving counter, and two single stall bathrooms – was located on the way out of town on our steepest, longest hill.

For me as a child, both the hill and the Legion loomed large. Hence ‘up at the Legion’ was said with reverence not only because the Hall itself held such allure, but because of its ‘majestic’ setting.

I don’t think there was ever a time I was ‘up at the Legion’ and didn’t see Uncle Pep. I thought he owned the Legion. Or at least lived there.

Uncle Pep

Uncle Pep

 

Uncle Pep always seemed to be surrounded by my Dad, Uncles and other men – talking, playing cards, giving each other grief.

His nickname fit him perfectly; Uncle Pep was exactly that – full of energy, enthusiasm and a twinkle in his eye. No matter the event, he was always in the thick of it – setting up tables and chairs; cooking up something on the stove; washing pots and pans; doling out the decks of cards – all the while making sure everyone else had what they needed and felt welcome.

Because we held so many family functions ‘up at the Legion’, I thought of the place as simply ‘our’ gathering place, not making the connection to the Legion’s true purpose.

Sure, Uncle Pep, Dad and other men wore those odd-looking hats. And every Memorial Day and 4th of July, we – the adults in their military uniforms and kids in Boy and Girl Scout uniforms – met ‘up at the Legion’ to begin the parade that marched through town to the cemetery. Afterwards, we reconvened ‘up at the Legion’ for crowded picnics and games that lasted well into the night.

But I didn’t realize the haven that Hall provided for the men and women who came home from WWII struggling to fit back into ‘normal’ lives; learning how to move past the flashbacks and nightmares that could be shared only with those who’d marched through the same hell.

If you’ve seen the HBO series The Pacific, you know some of what these men endured. Guam, Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Peleliu – places etched deeply in their souls because of the young friends and comrades they lost in battle, not to mention their own gruesome actions on missions of unspeakable horror. Dad and my Uncles were fortunate to all come home from the war, but no one comes home without wounds and lasting scars.

The American Legion (http://legion.org) was chartered by Congress in 1919 after World War I to focus on serving veterans, servicemembers and communities. In my small town, the Legion served us well. It continues to do so in numerous communities across our nation.

Uncle Pep passed away a couple years ago, having lived a fully engaged life until age 90. For four of those years, he was an active duty Marine. For approximately 65 years, he was a veteran and proud, active member of the American Legion.

You military veterans and your families have my highest praise, my deepest gratitude  and my steadfast support.

Semper Fi

STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

Never underestimate the power of a question

Garden for the Soul

Finding peace in life's garden

besottment by paper relics

Musings and Amusings

Rosemary's Blog

A window into my world

Little Writing Blog

A not-too-serious look at life beyond middle age

Alphabet Salad

...an eclectic assortment of rants and ramblings

Kate's Scrap Yard

scraps of vibrant color, texture and drippy paint

Mocha Muse

Coffee Shop Conversation. Creativity. General Musings.

Dispatches From Kansas

Musings and Amusings

Women Writing the West®

Musings and Amusings

Rocky Mountain Land Library

A resource linking land and community

The Off Key Of Life

Or….Identifying The Harmless Unhinged Among Us.

Mountain Gazette

Musings and Amusings

Desert Reflections

Thoughts on people, place, being and belonging

Mary J Melange

A hodgepodge of thoughts, ideas and the reality of life.

Fernwood Nursery & Gardens

Maine's Shadiest Nursery

The Task at Hand

A Writer's On-Going Search for Just the Right Words

Zentangle

Musings and Amusings

Notes from a Western Life

The Windbreak House Blog by Linda M. Hasselstrom

NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener, amateur photographer, intermediate quilter and lover of day trips around New England

Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Travel Tales of Life

Travelers. Adventurers. Storytellers.

bemuzin

Musings and Amusings

A Dalectable Life

The little and large things making my life delicious!

The Magnolia Review

Just another WordPress.com site

sappy as a tree: celebrating beauty in creation

"I think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree. . . ." -- "Trees," Joyce Kilmer

Michigan in Pictures

Photos of the Great Lakes State

Before Sundown

remember what made you smile

What oft was thought

"True wit is Nature to advantage dress'd, What oft was thought but ne'er so well express'd," wrote Alexander Pope ("Essay on Criticism"). I confess to taking Pope's line out of context, in that the purpose of this blog is to express thoughts, observations, ideas, musings.

Writer Site

Memoir, poetry, & writing theory

The Family Kalamazoo

A genealogical site devoted to the history of the DeKorn and Zuidweg families of Kalamazoo and the Mulder family of Caledonia

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction

My Life Lived Full

If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space

Retirementally Challenged

Learning to navigate through my post-work world

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

Almost Iowa

Where irrationality trumps reason

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Tickled To Tangle

Musings and Amusings

Enthusiastic Artist

Musings and Amusings

joeyfullystated

Narrative of a Neurotic & Other Random Nonsense

Tangled Ink Art

Musings and Amusings

The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Brenda Swenson

Musings and Amusings

Linda Covella, Author

Welcome to middle grade and young adult author Linda Covella's website!

Destination NOW

The answer to "are we there yet?"

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: