This week I moved my 88 year old Father into the beautiful Colonel Robert L Howard State Veterans Home in Pell City, Al. Being there with those military heroes makes you think.
My Father was 18 years old. A farm boy from Trussville, Al. He had never traveled much when he joined the Army in World War II and fought in The Battle of the Bulge. His feet froze and split open halfway up his ankles. He knew better than to take his shoes off or he would never get them on again. Once a medic did see him they wanted to amputate his foot, but he toughed it out. He had double pneumonia without antibiotics. He was taken prisoner of war for 5 harrowing months and nearly died from malnutrition. . Walking 300 miles to prison camp in the harshest winter Europe had seen in 100 years, under fire from our own troops. I am grateful he survived when many walking beside him did not.
He has many stories that would curl your hair. I do not know them all, there are some that he still cannot tell even after almost 70 years.
In our safe, comfortable lives we forget that the rights we enjoy were paid for with the sacrifice of many. He is one of the lucky ones. His sacrifice was to give up his youth and innocence, painful neuropathy and foot and hand problems. Other paid with their life.
I visited the American cemetary in Normandy,France where the D-Day invasion took place and was brought to my knees in tears. The overwhelming loss of young lives, never to reach their full potential so that I might be free.
Put down your BBQ tools, put the picnic aside for just a moment today and reflect on the price that was paid for us.
Thank a member of the military, volunteer at a Veterans home, send a card of thanks to a Vet or a Gold Star mother. It’s the least we can do.
If you would like to send a card to my Dad, here is his information.
Col.Robert L Howard State Veterans Home
7054 Veterans Parkway
Pell City,Al 35125
Thank you and have a Blessed Memorial Day~