Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Honoring the Past

Grandpa Pete's WWII Uniform

I'm very proud of my grandparents. My dad's father worked as a supervisor during WWII building cannons for the battle ships. I remember when we was younger (around 9 or 10 in fact, it's in my journal), going to the Sacramento Delta with my grandparents where there were two giant battle ships that were brought into port for show (they were obviously retired). My grandpa Root specifically pointed out the giant cannons on these guns and how he used to work in factories that built them. He was quite proud of the job he did, as was I.

Later on, I learned that my mom's dad "Grandpa Pete", was in the Army Air Corps when he was fresh out of high school and he fought in many battles during the war (Pacific), one of which he was shot twice. I was blown away that my grandpa pete had been a soldier in the war, that he actually saw battle.

On a particular visit with us, my mom asked if he would sit down and talk about his experience in the war and what he went through. My grandpa was always a very easy-going type and fun to be around (the dude is 85...or is it 86?? and he's still maintaining an acre plot filled with a garden, christmas trees, etc.) and it was odd to me to think that he was one of those soldiers you see in remake movies and TV shows; he just didn't seem to be that type.

Anyway, he went on to tell us that he had just served in a few battles in the pacific and was on leave in seattle it seemed? He said there was a cargo plane heading out to an un-marked island to drop supplies to some of the guys there. He said they needed some help, so he volunteered to go along. He said they made their landing, dropped the supplies, then as they took off, their plane was shot. He had to jump from the plane at a low altitude with his parachute. He said as he parachuted down, he was shot twice. He landed, ditched the chute, then hid in the brush for a couple of days until more help arrived.

He talked about it so matter-of-factly. I often wonder what details he left out, or what kind of fear he remembers having. What were his thoughts, laying in the brush after having been shot?

Anyway, my brother Russ is wanting to make some sort of documentary on my grandpa. In making it, he sent my mom with his uniform and a description of all the medals on it.

I'm so proud of my ancestors and grateful for the example they've set for me. They were raised in a tough time and I think they will always be remembered as Tom Brokaw calls them, the "Greatest Generation".

Click on the link above each picture that will take you to a link with descriptions of each medal attached to it.


Grandpa Pete's WWII Uniform


Grandpa Pete's WWII Uniform


Grandpa Pete's WWII Uniform

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