Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My family and the military

I remember as a child in school, we'd stop what we were doing to stand with our hands on our hearts for a moment of silence at 11:00 AM every November 11. And although the holiday was changed to "Veterans Day" before I was born, I also remember having at least one teacher in elementary school who called it "Armistice Day".
I have always disliked the idea of war. In fact, although I never realized it until I was grown, the church I grew up attending is considered a pacifist church. Although I feel like I've been a lifelong agnostic, I loved my church as a child and I guess it's natural that something rubbed off on me, huh? And yet, as a realist, I know that not all wars are avoidable and sometimes we have to fight for things we care about.
I am grateful to those who served in our military. My belief is that any soldier who follows the legal orders of his superiors has served honorably, no matter the outcome of the action in which he participated. Defeat cannot make a soldier dishonorable.
As a genealogist, I am very grateful for the records that war and the military has provided me. In a previous post, I wrote about the Civil War pension files that I have viewed at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Like most Americans, I have many ancestors who fought in wars. For example, here is a list of my known ancestors who fought in the American Revolution whose burial places I know.
Josias Brown
William Faris
John Fife, Sr.
William Fife, Sr.
William Fife, Jr.
John Supler
These links all go to Find a Grave
As far as I know, I only have two ancestors who fought in the Civil War, Michael McDaid and his son, Samuel, who were my 3rd great and 2nd great grandfathers. I did have dozens of collateral relatives who served. I find it interesting that on my mother's side of the family, my g-g-grandmother's husband, a man who was not my ancestor, died in the Union prison, Camp Chase, during the Civil War. John J. Webb died of typhoid. All three of these Civil War soldiers are also listed on Find a Grave:

Michael S. McDaid

Samuel S. McDaid

John J. Webb
Since then, only my father enlisted. He wanted to go to Korea like his brother, my Uncle Dave. Dad ended up spending his Army years in occupied Japan. Below are some pictures taken of him during those years:

He looked so young, didn't he?
My "little" brother, Willie, also spent several years in the Navy. I can still get a rise out of him by saying how cute he looks in his "sailor suit".

I know we owe a lot to our Veterans. I hope everyone gets a chance to thank them today and every day!

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