Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Greatest Generation

Guest post by Suzann Darnall

So far as I have been able to ascertain, we did not have a near relative land on any of the beaches on D-Day. But, we did have several who fought and some who died in World War II.

Pete’s step-dad, Bill Crawford, celebrated his 18th birthday landing on Anzio. My father’s Uncle Jim Dale, US Army, was killed in the invasion of Anzio Beach, Italy. He is buried there in the US Cemetery.

I do not have all the names and I cannot share all the stories, but it is a part of my family history that I grew up hearing about here and there. We have a book that belonged to Bill about the landing at Anzio. I have a brass plate from India that Uncle Darrell Samples brought back from India after his time overseas. It sits on my sideboard and I pretty much see it everyday. A reminder of those who served.

We have a dear friend, John Swope, who was wounded in WWII. He has shared many of his stories with my husband and me. And, our first LDS bishop, Smith Shumway, was blinded as a young lieutenant, when storming the beaches of Normandy. We got to know him and his family well when we lived in Wyoming.

My maternal grandfather, Papa Sayre served in the US Army in Italy, at end of WWII. Not sure when he arrived there, but he remained in the Occupation Force. His brother, Uncle Bud Sayre served in the US Navy, working the North Atlantic.

We had family and nearly family who served. Some gave their lives in that war which was literally happening around the world. It truly was a World War. It was a war to stop not just one dictator, but an Axis of Evil. Powers in both the East and the West were bent on world domination. They came together, for a time, in an effort to grab land, power, and freedom.

However, families all across America and the world sent their sons, fathers, brothers, husbands, and uncles into battle. They sent men and women into harm’s way. Those at home often did without in an effort to make sure there was enough for those at war. It was in many ways a different time. There is a reason these people are often called “The Greatest Generation.” It is a title they earned and a title they deserve. They also deserve to be remembered.

I share with you now some of my family’s greatest generation members:

Uncle Walt King served in US Navy. He served in both WWI and WWII.
Elmer McCallister, a distant cousin served in WWII, My father says he was a nice man.
Creed Robinson, another distant cousin, served and must have had it very bad. He came back a real basket case at times. My father knew him well. Says he was a fun person but also an alcoholic for a lot of his life.
Elmer Robinson, another distant cousin was quite the hero. Injured seriously and well decorated.
Uncle Dennis Dale served in the US Army and guarded prisoners at Fort Hood Texas for his stint..
Cousin Richard Dale served with distinction in the US Navy. Well decorated.
Uncle Bill Hill. He was my Aunt Syb’s first husband, who later died of cancer. He was in the US Army. Served from North Africa right up into Europe.
Uncle Darrell Samples served throughout the war in the US Navy in the Pacific. He was in many of the major battles. He had shell shock, which is now known as PTSD.
Uncle Tom Phillips, served in the US Navy on a battleship. Lost his hearing due to the pounding of the big guns. He was Aunt Syb’s second husband and had been the best friend of her first husband, Bill.
Dale Barr served in the US Navy.
Uncle Tony Stamper served as a US Marine.
Uncle Lowell Edwards served from Pearl Harbor, after it was bombed.
And, finally, one of my aunts lost a fiancé, Pete Smith, during the war.

There have been many American generations who have fought for our country and fought for freedom around the world. One this day I hope you pay tribute to those not just on D-Day, but throughout World War II. They are fast disappearing due to age and illness. But, they were one of our greatest generations and I honor them this day. Not just those who were family and friends, but all those who served to the best of their abilities in a fight against aggression and domination.

God bless ‘em!!!

No comments: