Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and is a time when we honor our Military.  I have several family members who have stepped up to the plate and served our country.  I am slowly working on researching my families genealogy.  I still need to pull all the pieces together which is quite the task.  However, it is fun to find a new branch of the family tree and learn about their lives.  Actually now that I think about it the one aspect of antique samplers I enjoy most is trying to find out more about the young lady who actually stitched the sampler.  In honor of Memorial Day and my family members who have served.  I thought I would share a little bit about each of them to honor them as well as their service to our country.
Paul my step-father served in the Navy during the Korean War.  While in the Navy he learned to box and cut hair while working on a carrier ship.  After he left the Navy he worked on the railroad and eventually settled in  Northern Virginia and subsequently purchased a Barber Shop.  He always said going into the Navy was the best thing he ever did - he was able to see the world, learn skills he continues to use, and even though he only has an eighth grade education is probably one of he most politically and historically astute individuals you would ever met.
Paul my maternal grandfather grew up in the Appalachian Mountains in one of the most beautiful areas of Virginia.  He left his home in Wise, VA to serve in the Marines during WWII.  After being injured he spent time at Walter Reed Hospital.  Once he recovered he returned home to his family and children.  Once home he returned to the coal mines and was the father to sixteen children. 
John my paternal grandfather served as a Lt. Colonel in the Army during WWII.  He was in his 30's when he entered the service and had a young family in McLean, VA.  When he returned he worked for Otis Elevators and was  responsible for team that installed the elevator's in the White House and Washington Monument.  Every time I drive by either I am always reminded of him.  Another reminder I have is golf.  When I was little a I would always climb up in his lap and he was always in his favorite recliner.  We would watch golf together.  Apparently watching golf helped us take our naps.  He passed away when I was about seven so those are the few memories I have of our time spent together.

The following two I have included them even though they served during the most divisive time in our country.  They still answered the call just as many did during the Civil War and fought for their State's rights when many of their neighbors were doing the same.
Wicklief my maternal two-times great grandfather served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  He grew up in Wise, VA and built his home as many did by foresting the lumber and building his families home log by log. The home ended up outside of the family and a few years ago a builder was in the process of disassembling it.  One of my mother’s family members found out about it and was able to set up a preservation society and work with the builder to purchase the home.  At this point it is being restored to share the history of Wise County during the mid-1800’s.
Levi my paternal two-times great grandfather served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  He grew up in Ashe, NC and joined the Army in 1861 when he was about 19 years old.  A year later his brother joined as well.  In reviewing  his military records he was injured several times and taken POW twice.  The second time he was captured in Spotsylvania, VA on May 12, 1864 and arrived in Elmira, NY August 15th, 1864.  When I read this information all I could think was it took them three months to make the trip.  As I kept reading the next line broke my heart “Remarks: Volunteered August 13, 1861.  Desires to go to his home at Newton, NC.” All I could think of was here is a young boy who has seen and endured more than anyone should by his age and all he could think about was going back home.  A few months later I had found additional information and ended up connecting with my father's first cousin who sent me a lot of information he had.  In the documents he sent the one above was included.  When I opened up the attachment I was stunned.  Not only was I looking at Levi someone born over 150 years ago but our oldest son.  
May you take a moment this Memorial Day weekend to remember those who have given to us this wonderful country we have today.  Much of it thru their fear, will, determination, blood shed and in many cases the life they gave to stand up for our country and what they believe in.

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