Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

MEMORIAL DAY--Thread Five--"The Luckiest Boy in the World"
5/28/04 | redrock

Posted on 05/28/2004 8:09:36 PM PDT by redrock

When I was around 6 or 7 years old (funny how you really don't want to remember some things) my father got hurt while on the job.

The accident broke his spine in half...leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. I remember all the hectic days from that time...and I remember when he was finally stabilized...that he transferred to the V.A. Hospital in Long Beach,California.

I remember going to the V.A. Hospital for the first time.....being surrounded by so many people in wheelchairs...or on gurneys. Men with missing legs....or arms...or eyes. Being as young as I was...it was quite frightening.

There I was...a young boy....standing next to my dad...who still had bruises galore...and still had lots and lots of tubes coming out of him...and going into him. Here was my dad.....a person so full of life....who ran races with me all of the time.....liked to play catch....took me fishing.....looking like he had run his last race.

I thought (in my young boy mind) that my dad was going to die.

I guess that I looked the part of a scared little boy....because my dad grabbed my hand and pulled me close...giving me a hug as best he could.

Then he said quietly ( he had a tracheotomy) something that I didn't really figure out for a couple of years.

"Skipper....look around at this place. Full of old soldiers....sailors....and fliers. You are the luckiest boy in the world."

I didn't understand....but as the tears flowed...I just hugged my dad.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My dad stayed in the V.A. for almost three years...(and afterwards would periodically have to go back for more surgery etc). Long about the second year my dad was there....I began to understand why he said I was the 'luckiest boy in the world'.

Here I was...surrounded by men who had landed at Normandy....or had jumped into France the night before.

Men who had fought their way up Italy.....

Men who had fought the Japanese at Guadacanal....or Iwo Jima....or the Philipines.

Men who had served on the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

Men who had fought at Chosen....or Inchon.

Men who had flown P-51's.....Corsairs....P-38's.....B-17's----B-24's.

Men who had kept their Nation and their families safe.

...and I got to talk with everyone of them...and learn.(although I'm not sure I was aware that I was learning...)

In short....I was surrounded by living History.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And this weekend....You can be surrounded by History too.

Just take some time (an hour will do nicely) and visit the local V.A. Hospital....or Veteran's Home...or Nursing Home.

Visit...and hear first hand...the stories that the men (and women) are wanting to tell. Let them tell of the time off of Iwo that the Kamikaze's tried to sink their ship.....listen to them tell of the night's at Bastogne....let them pass on the stories.

You will be better for hearing them.

....and part of the American Story...will then become part of you.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: americans; memorialday; soldiers; veterans
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-102 next last
This weekend...this MEMORIAL DAY weekend...take some time and visit an 'old soldier'.

You will be glad you did.

redrock

"That which you do to the least of my Brothers....."

1 posted on 05/28/2004 8:09:37 PM PDT by redrock
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Chapita; B4Ranch
This one's for you 2.

Memorial Day....

redrock

2 posted on 05/28/2004 8:10:46 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AuntB; Jeff Head; Washington_minuteman; GrandmaC; blackie; Jim Robinson
MEMORIAL DAY.....

redrock

3 posted on 05/28/2004 8:12:02 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SAMWolf; McGavin999; DeSoto; Mare; MEG33; tertiary01; LindaSOG
MEMORIAL DAY....

redrock

4 posted on 05/28/2004 8:13:05 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ALOHA RONNIE; alaska-sgt; MoJo2001; Kathy in Alaska; Fawnn; RonDog; nunya bidness
MEMORIAL DAY....

redrock

5 posted on 05/28/2004 8:13:48 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: amom; Alamo-Girl; Long Cut; Brad's Gramma; Molly Pitcher; Travis McGee; DLfromthedesert
MEMORIAL DAY!!!

redrock

6 posted on 05/28/2004 8:14:59 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: redrock

Thank you for that perspective. My daddy was paralyzed from the chest down when I was 5. He was in the VA hospital in Memphis, TN. Dad spent much of the next 22 years, on and off, in the spinal injury ward there. I saw many of the young men coming back from Vietnam. They were such wonderful men, so badly injured, yet full of life. As a little girl, I loved many of them. I saw the war from a very different view than many. My dad has left us for the great fishing hole in the sky, but we will remember him and all those who have fought this Memorial Day.


7 posted on 05/28/2004 8:22:47 PM PDT by cyndi
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; Miss Marple; Howlin; CWOJackson; MeekOneGOP; Blood of Tyrants
MEMORIAL DAY!!!

redrock

8 posted on 05/28/2004 8:24:16 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: redrock

Thanks for sharing that.


9 posted on 05/28/2004 8:25:52 PM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cyndi
Thanks.

Amazing isn't it. We both have seen men with their bodies torn apart...and yet....they were happy.

redrock

10 posted on 05/28/2004 8:27:46 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: redrock; Kathy in Alaska; MoJo2001; LindaSOG; LaDivaLoca; Fawnn; Bethbg79; bentfeather; ...

I'm starting a collection of the Memorial Day threads by redrock.
I'll ping you when the new one is posted.
This way you'll have the whole collection also.

MEMORIAL DAY--Thread One--"Discussions With a One-Legged Man"
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1141564/posts

MEMORIAL DAY--Thread Two--"My Daddy's Finally Home..."
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1142082/posts

MEMORIAL DAY--Thread Three--"The Bodybags of Afghanistan and Iraq"--(Roger's Story)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1142776/posts

MEMORIAL DAY--Thread Four--"Welcome Home"
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1143426/posts

MEMORIAL DAY--Thread Five--"The Luckiest Boy in the World"
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1144225/posts


11 posted on 05/28/2004 8:28:48 PM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Have you said Thank You to a service man or woman today?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Luis Gonzalez; William Wallace; Valin; VOA; SSgt Mike; M Kehoe; JohnHuang2; annyokie
MEMORIAL DAY!!!!

redrock

12 posted on 05/28/2004 8:28:59 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

God Bless You Brother


13 posted on 05/28/2004 8:31:44 PM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Have you said Thank You to a service man or woman today?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: HiJinx; stand watie; BykrBayb; Diver Dave; Professional Engineer; ride the whirlwind
MEMORIAL DAY!!!

redrock

14 posted on 05/28/2004 8:32:33 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: dcwusmc; Eagle Eye; NWU Army ROTC; Victoria Delsoul; Rockyrich; Libertarianize the GOP; carlo3b
MEMORIAL DAY!!!

redrock

15 posted on 05/28/2004 8:33:26 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: TownhallMeetup; Neil E. Wright; Eastbound; Diva Betsy Ross; snippy_about_it; PhilDragoo
MEMORIAL DAY!!!

redrock

16 posted on 05/28/2004 8:35:41 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: not2worry; M1Tanker; kimmie7; Texasforever; cocoapuff; BARLF; Blzbba; mom-7; rdb3; PokeyJoe
MEMORIAL DAY!!!

redrock

17 posted on 05/28/2004 8:38:15 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: redrock

Go here for a cool slideshow:


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1144039/posts


18 posted on 05/28/2004 8:38:38 PM PDT by annyokie (There are two sides to every argument, but I'm too busy to listen to yours.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redrock
Thank your Redrock for the reminder of what Memorial Day is really about.

Our BSA troop serves a dinner at Christmas time at our local VA hospital convalescent home. We cook up massive amount of tri-tip with rice pilaf, salad, rolls and desserts. We feed everyone that isn't on a restricted diet. The nursing staff even lets some of them cheat and eat with us instead of staying on their diet. We also feed the staff, the volunteers, family members that are visiting, our families, everyone who makes the "mistake of walking in that door".

It is great fun. We decorate their day room, sing Christmas carols, the boys that play instruments get to showcase their talents. As a group, we are there all afternoon cooking, decorating, with the boys and their siblings running around.

It creates alot of excitement and activity for the residents. Then after the meal, we hold one of our courts of honor for the boys to receive their awards in scouting. Most of the resident were Boy Scout in their youth so they are thrilled to watch and remember their time in scouting.

On occasion we have retire a flag out on their patio area. It is a VERY emotional experience to watch an elderly Vet struggle to his feet from his wheelchair, to pay his final respects to Old Glory during the ceremony.

If every BSA troop in the US had one event, meeting or did a service project at a VA hospital every other year, there wouldn't be enough days in a year to book all of the events.

19 posted on 05/28/2004 8:39:55 PM PDT by notpoliticallycorewrecked (In honor of Cesear, Eagle Scout, Marine private WIA Fallujah Iraq on 4-13-04)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redrock
LEST WE FORGET

#20 of 60 ^

While on board the USS Okinawa, LPH-3, we were heading to Guam when one of the boilers needed to be repaired, and the ship came to a stop. We were dead in the water, but still maintained flight quarters.

On Feb 1, 1980, a CH-46 was chained down and turning on Spot 1 on LPH-3 in the western Pacific, spot 2 was launched first.

Rotor wash from spot 2 came up under the a/c on spot 1, the ship started to lift, pilot rammed collective down to keep ship on deck, but ship bounced. A/C was NOT chained down tight enough, and A/C snapped the chains on the port side of the aircraft, flipped over the starboard side of the ship and went in the water on the port side of the aircraft.

Maj Creel is at the top. He broke 2 ribs, one arm and one leg. He was sent back to Hawaii for recuperation.

GySgt O'Hallorn is the red head leaning over, he died in the late 80's in a CH-46.

With his back to us is SSgt Echevarria, later to retire as MSgt Echevarria from HMX-1 in 1992

Being pulled in is either Cpl Kevin Doering or LCpl Leo Beery. One got pulled out earlier, dont remember. Cpl Doering died from Lupus in 1995 or 96. Leo Beery is a designer and salesman of prosthetic devices in Oklahoma.

Lt James Oscar Hensley is still in the aircraft to this day. I think the chart showed the depth there to be about 6000 fathoms or so.

Crash was on Feb 1, 1980.

Lt James Oscar Hensley III, North Carolina, Semper Fidelis

20 posted on 05/28/2004 8:41:03 PM PDT by RaceBannon (VOTE DEMOCRAT AND LEARN ARABIC FREE!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RaceBannon

Thanks Race...it's good to remember.


21 posted on 05/28/2004 8:46:13 PM PDT by HiJinx (Go with courage, go with honor, go in God's good Grace. Come home when it's time. We'll be here.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

bump


22 posted on 05/28/2004 8:46:39 PM PDT by Soaring Feather (~The Dragon Flies' Lair~ Poetry and Prose~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: HiJinx

I didnt take pictures during the crash the next year, I was manning a firehose.

I do have pictures of some damage, and the BEAR bomber that flew over to take pictures of the damage to the ship.


23 posted on 05/28/2004 8:54:22 PM PDT by RaceBannon (VOTE DEMOCRAT AND LEARN ARABIC FREE!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: RaceBannon
Lt James Oscar Hensley is still in the aircraft to this day.

God bless the men that fly and fight. All of them.

/john

24 posted on 05/28/2004 8:55:22 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Soy el jefe de la cocina. No disguta conmigo.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: redrock
Is that the same VA hospital that was destroyed in an earthquake in 71 or 72?
I met a blind veteran who was buried alive, when a Southern California VA Hospital collapsed then, but he was eventually rescued. He said that if he had had his sight he would have gone crazy. Still it left him physically incapacitated and in need of care for the rest of his days.
25 posted on 05/28/2004 9:00:31 PM PDT by tertiary01 (The left rewards NO virtues)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redrock

O beautiful, for heroes proved in liberating strife.

These are great essays, honoring great men. Happy Memorial Day, red.


26 posted on 05/28/2004 9:03:49 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Pre-empt the third murder attempt: Pray for Terri Schindler-Schiavo!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redrock

Thank you so much for the beautiful testimony and challenge!


27 posted on 05/28/2004 9:06:16 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Another beautiful story redrock! Thanks for the ping 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub!


28 posted on 05/28/2004 9:34:43 PM PDT by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades...And panties!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: redrock; PhilDragoo; Ragtime Cowgirl; Cindy; SusanTK; McGavin999; AdmSmith; seamole; Valin; ...

God Bless America and Our Troops

29 posted on 05/28/2004 9:52:49 PM PDT by Smartass ( BUSH & CHENEY IN 2004 - Si vis pacem, para bellum - Por el dedo de Dios se escribió.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redrock

Visited my step-grandfather...he was in the Navy during WW2.....he served aboard a transport from Iwo until the end.

Sadly all of my other family members who served in WW2 have passed on.

I had 2 great grandfathers who served in the Navy, and another great grandfather who flew a Hawker Hurricaine for the RAF....he flew during the battle of Britain.


30 posted on 05/28/2004 9:53:10 PM PDT by Blue Scourge (Off I go into the Wild Blue Yonder...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Incorrigible; God luvs America; plain talk; Petronski; ChevyZ28; wagglebee; AngieGOP
MEMORIAL DAY!!!!

redrock

31 posted on 05/28/2004 10:03:49 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: redrock

bump


32 posted on 05/28/2004 10:03:52 PM PDT by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: redrock

>>You will be better for hearing them.


....and part of the American Story...will then become part of you.<<


....and part of U.S.A.'s freedom fighters history ...will then become part of you, live and up close.

You will be able to almost feel as if you were there with them. Hearing their stories firsthand is much better than reading their autobiographies.

Being able to ask questions of the men and women will make you feel as if you were a part of it.

Holding a mans hand while tears stream down his face as he brags about how his best friend died a hero to the squad is something that you will not tend to forget easily.


33 posted on 05/28/2004 10:05:09 PM PDT by B4Ranch (“If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison-Dwight Eisenhower-12/8/49)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: AFPhys; clamper1797; Terp; dead; altura; A Citizen Reporter; stboz; m87339; highlandbreeze; ...
MEMORIAL DAY!!!

redrock

34 posted on 05/28/2004 10:06:26 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Smartass

35 posted on 05/28/2004 10:14:05 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Home is where you hang your @.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: SAMWolf; PhilDragoo; Ragtime Cowgirl; Cindy; SusanTK; McGavin999; AdmSmith; seamole; Valin; ...

God Bless America and Our Troops
Thank you for Serving

36 posted on 05/28/2004 10:22:58 PM PDT by Smartass ( BUSH & CHENEY IN 2004 - Si vis pacem, para bellum - Por el dedo de Dios se escribió.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: B4Ranch
"Holding a mans hand while tears stream down his face as he brags about how his best friend died a hero to the squad is something that you will not tend to forget easily."

TRUTH!!!!!

redrock

37 posted on 05/28/2004 10:23:43 PM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: redrock; Smartass; All

38 posted on 05/28/2004 10:27:08 PM PDT by Cindy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Smartass

Thanks for those great pings! I enjoyed all of them.


39 posted on 05/29/2004 1:19:43 AM PDT by Happy2BMe (U.S.A. - - United We Stand - - Divided We Fall - - Support Our Troops - - Vote BUSH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Thank you for posting these, redrock!
Thank you for the ping, Tonk!

These gems are bookmarked, both here at FR and home.

God bless our military, past and present!


40 posted on 05/29/2004 3:06:27 AM PDT by radu (May God watch over our troops and keep them safe)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: redrock
Thanks!

I was born on Lackland A. F. B. in San Antone, back in '47, to a "lifer".

Dad had served with the 3rd Bomb Group in New Guinea and four uncles had also served with combat units.

I grew up around those guys and still have tremendous respect for that "Greatest Generation".

41 posted on 05/29/2004 3:15:25 AM PDT by Chapita (There are none so blind as those who refuse to see! Santana)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Good morning, Tonk. How's it going?


42 posted on 05/29/2004 3:58:22 AM PDT by E.G.C.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: redrock; Alamo-Girl; onyx; ALOHA RONNIE; SpookBrat; Republican Wildcat; Howlin; dixiechick2000; ...
MEMORIAL DAY--Thread Five--
"The Luckiest Boy in the World"

Wow. Thank you for sharing this story. Don't miss this one, folks.


Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my General Interest ping list!. . .don't be shy.


43 posted on 05/29/2004 4:47:54 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (There is ONLY ONE good Democrat: one that has just been voted OUT of POWER ! Straight ticket GOP!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Chieftain; kjfine; StarCMC; TEXOKIE
MEMORIAL DAY...

redrock

44 posted on 05/29/2004 5:02:00 AM PDT by redrock ("Better a Shack in Heaven....than a Mansion in Hell"---My Grandma)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: MeekOneGOP; redrock
Incredible story and even more incredible heroes...we are all so blessed.

God Bless America and our soldiers...past, present, future...forever!

45 posted on 05/29/2004 5:35:42 AM PDT by NewLand (Prevent the Clinton White House from being re-opened under new management!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: redrock

Great stuff, redrock! I might just take my 11 year old over to the VA. I hadn't thought of that. Hmmm.....


46 posted on 05/29/2004 5:56:26 AM PDT by kjfine (Home, and loving it!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redrock
Thank you for the ping. I trust you are well.

I need to volunteer again at the VA. I realized after reading your post, how much I miss it.

5.56mm

47 posted on 05/29/2004 6:14:34 AM PDT by M Kehoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #48 Removed by Moderator

To: Ragtime Cowgirl

great piece... :)


49 posted on 05/29/2004 6:48:31 AM PDT by Americanwolf (Former Navy AO3... IYAOYAS!!!! Population control and landscaping with a bang!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: RaceBannon
Lt James Oscar Hensley III, USMC
Cpl Kevin Doering, USMC
America remembers your sacrifice.
Rest in peace.
Semper Fidelis
50 posted on 05/29/2004 7:01:30 AM PDT by Chieftain (To all who serve and support those who serve - thank you!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-102 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson