Memorial Day is observed in the United States each year on the last Monday in May. Memorial Day dates back to the time after the American Civil War when people wanted a special day to honor and remember and decorate the graves of those who died in that war. It eventually became a day to honor all who gave their lives in military service to our country.
Since tomorrow is Memorial Day, I thought it would be a good time to remember the young service members we came to know on The Waltons who gave the last full measure of devotion. First I’m thinking about “Uncle Ben” and three others who died in World War 1 and were honored with a memory bench in The Hero.
Next I’m thinking of three young men from Waltons Mountain who died in World War 2.
G.W. Haines died in a training accident at Fort Lee.
Curt Willard was killed at Pearl Harbor. (Forget the season 9 episode. That was an imposter).
Tommy Satterfield was killed by a German torpedo enroute to Europe.
I realize that The Waltons is only loosely based on real people and events, and it’s unlikely any of those people actually existed. However, they do represent the many service members who have given their lives in military service. Each of those people had a life story, a family, friends, hopes and dreams, and their lives were cut short. I think it’s important to tell their stories.
”Lest We Forget” as Ben’s bench says:
Edwin Fraley grew up on a farm in eastern Kentucky that had been in his family for over 100 years. His dream was to be a farmer and live out his life on that family farm, but there was a war, and military service came first. Edwin was stationed at Fort Knox and became good friends with another soldier from North Carolina. On the 4th of July 1941, Edwin invited this other soldier to come home with him for the weekend. The soldier met and fell in love with Edwin’s sister that weekend and they were married a year later.
Eventually both Edwin and the other soldier were sent overseas to fight the war in Europe. On New Years Day 1945, Edwin was killed in action in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. He was buried in an American cemetery in France, but after the war the family had his body returned to the United States, and he is now buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. Edwin was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. The other soldier was wounded in action and was awarded The Purple Heart, but he lived to come home to his young wife and baby son. That soldier was my father and Edwin’s sister was my mother. If not for my Uncle Edwin, I probably would not be here, because it’s unlikely my parents would have ever met each other.
Do you have a family member, a friend, an acquaintance, a hero from your hometown whose story you’d like to share in this thread?
One of my grandmother's brothers was killed in France around the middle of July in 1944. He was, like Brenda's uncle originally buried in France and returned after the war to be buried in the family cemetery. His name was John Francis (Frank) Vest. Now since my grandmother's father was married twice and was 17 years older than his second wife (my grandmother's mother), my grandmother's oldest half brother served in WW1. He lived until the late 1960's though. His name was Bryan Vest.
WARNING! Some may find this disturbing. (Seriously!)
My maternal grandfather fought in WW1 and was injured in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Grandpa never talked about it, neither his injury nor the war itself, so I can only guess that Grandpa was on his belly by the nature of his wound, either crawling toward the Germans or gone to ground to avoid enemy fire. I just don't know.
Somehow, Grandpa was shot in the face, beside his nose under his left eye. The bullet shattered the bones and cartilage in his nose before travelling through the roof of his mouth. Most of his teeth were blown out before the bullet passed through his tongue then out the bottom of his jaw, somehow (and luckily) missing his jawbone. The bullet eventually lodged in Grandpa's upper chest.
He was tended to by medics before being shipped to England for treatment, recuperation, and rehabilitation.
I miss my grandfather. He died in 1976 while the Olympics in Montreal were going on. I would have loved to hear him talk about the war but I could understand even back then why he wouldn't or couldn't. Whatever hell he went throughout his life, he went through it alone and in silence.
Post by noplacelikehome on Jun 1, 2021 12:13:30 GMT -5
A little late, but I have a cousin who fought in Vietnam. He was a helicopter pilot. Unfortunately, the helicopter he was piloting (carrying 4 other service members) lost it's rotary blade as it was preparing to land. The helicopter crashed into the mountainside, and all service members were lost. March 15, 1971.
Post by patriciaanne on Jun 1, 2021 20:21:04 GMT -5
Thank you for this thread, Brenda. Someone sent me a photo of a t-shirt they had, which listed the numbers of casualties from each war. Quite sobering. We owe our entire way of life to these courageous people who gave everything they had. ❤️🇺🇸
Revolutionary War: 50,000 War of 1812: 25,000 Mexican-American War: 17,435 Civil War: 646,392 Spanish-American War: 4,068 Filipino Insurrection: 7,126 WW1: 320,518 WW2: 1,076,245 Korean War: 128,650 Vietnam War: 211,454 Gulf War: 1,231 Iraq War: 36,710 War in Afghanistan: 20,904