Year 2013 & Year 2014 2

Year 2013 & Year 2014 2

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

NOVEMBER TAG; The 12 Tags of 2015... For Veteran's Day! PART 1 of 2

(This is in 2 parts. So if you want to see just the NOVEMBER TAG- you are welcome to skip this Part 1, but please remember; this part is the IMPORTANT part. At ME.)

Veterans' Day in November is an especially bittersweet holiday for our family since quite a few family or friends of ours have served in the US Armed Forces. Most of the 9 Uncles of both the ChiefHubby and I served in the Army with at least 1 of them plus several Cousins having served (past and presently) in the Air Force. One of David's Uncles was killed in practice maneuvers in Arizona during the Vietnam War. Our Older Son's Fiance', Ashley, is Navy, along with her older brother and her Dad is Marines. Not to mention a young man we 'adopted' years ago when he was our next-door neighbor, who ended up losing a leg thanks to a roadside bomb in Iraq and now plays on the US Sled Hockey team. And not to forget the friends I still know who were Classmates who have given literally a lifetime in a carreer in the Air Force in both wartime and peacetime.Yes, Veterans' Day always did mean more to me than making sure our sons got to the Band Room on time for the trip to march in the local Veterans' Day Parade. When that American Flag goes by, held as proudly and as high as their strength allows, carried by men who were more used to carrying a gun during their time as active soldiers. I learned early on to stand up and give my attention to our nation's Red, White, and Blue. (And if I didn't, my Dad would tap me on the backside of the head and give me 'THE LOOK' that would pop any full sized adult to their feet in a hurry!) I've tried hard to instill that same heart-felt love of America in our sons, but it ultimately is up to them. I can't say I blame them too much if they are torn between hate and love for the USA because of politics. I hafta agree with them, there. The greed, the power-hungry grabbers, the 'we are law-makers therefore we are owed much more than the Average Joe' kind of political crap that goes on is enough to strangle the best American. BUT... we're not talking about 'politics' when it comes to what our American Flag stands for. We're talking about what made so many men go willingly during World War II and sign up for going overseas to fight a force that was pure EVIL. We're talking about men who were really BOYS; most were barely out of High School. And some, like my Dad....weren't even that old yet. We're talking about The Greatest Generation. And those before them who did what was "good", "right", and got it done "just because it needed being done".
         My Dad was 36 years old and already had 6 kids when I was born in 1965, but he didn't become my Dad until I was 7. That was the summer he met and married my Mother, who already had 4 kids of her own. I remember my real Father, Lyle, but few memories were of having the kind of fun most kids had with their fathers. Oh, I'm sure he loved me in his way, but I don't remember running up to him the way this "new" Dad always says I ran up to him asking "Hey, are you gonna be my new DAD?!" No, this Dad was going to change all that. He was quiet in his own way, but it's always the 'quiet ones' who make the most noise...and laughter, too! As I got older, I realized more and more the sacrifices he made for me. Not to put him on a pedestal, because he wasn't perfect at all. But what gets the tears going is the thought that he TRIED. When my Mother left him in 1981, he saw to it that I was allowed to choose which one I wanted to stay with. Even as a "stepfather"- who was really not going to be related at all anymore- made it possible for me to legally choose to stay with him if I wanted. It wasn't about the choice he was making available to me that mattered; it was the fact that he was allowing ME to choose! I chose to stay with my Dad. And for the fact that he was MY DAD. 
He gave me to the hand of my ChiefHubby on our Wedding Day, and he was the first one of my family to come to the hospital when our boys were born. And along the way while I was raising kids as a stay-at-home Mom, I tried to get out to see him every week and take the boys along with me to see Grandpa. Once, one of the boys had a project to write a story about a Grandparent or Uncle/Aunt about a memory of THEIR Granparent or Uncle/Aunt. So, here Grandpa Rush is telling our son all about how he used to ride in his Grandfather's lap up and down Broadway (which is now a one-way street since I can remember it changed from a 2way when I was little) a TROLLEY!! Yes, here is my Dad telling my kids all about how his Grandpa was a Logansport TrolleyMan, and my older sister and I are standing there with our mouths hanging open. Almost at the same time, we exclaimed "Why didn't you ever tell US that ?!" to which he replied cooly "You never ASKED, and he's asking." Hmph. Typical DAD. He never really talked much about his past nor his parents. But he once told me he quit school in the 6th Grade because he "didn't wanna go through it the THIRD time, and that's why YOU will graduate,". But, Dad was the smartest man I knew- even among all my Teachers, and still remains one of the smartest men I've ever known in my life.

                  My maternal Grandparents thought the world of their one-time SonInLaw, and Grandma Raymer was always gushing over how much 'he  LOVES his kids!' and often said how proud they were of him to me. After the divorce, they were visiting our house or my Dad would take me to their house for us to visit on weekends. It still went on even if I went skating those nights with all my friends. Knowing my Dad could still depend on my Grandparents made me feel as if I still had a family intact. Shown here is our school's yearly Grandparents' Day and Brian & Brett with  their Great Grandpa Raymer and their Grandpa Rush.

             One of the stories he DID tell me was how he came to sign up for World War II at only 17 yrs old. He said he'd originally taken off on his own when he was 16, and headed for Indianapolis Army Recruiting Center. He lied about his age, saying he was 18, and actually made it all the way through the processing that day, before his own Dad showed up at the door and yanked him all the way back to Logansport "by my collar". His father, Fred, made a deal with his eldest child, Donald Fredrick, that if he would wait until his 17th Birthday in January of 1945, Fred would take him to Indy himself and give his signature to allow Dad to go into the Army. Fred was hoping the war would be over by then, or that his son would find something (or someone- which he later did) to keep him in Logansport. But January came, the War was still going, and Fred kept his promise. And as the story goes; Private Donald F. Rush was trained and then sent to Kentucky as a Cook in the US Army. He spent time there, before getting sent to New Mexico for the duration of his 3 yr signup. One further story that came later, he told how he and his best Buddy had both put in for Guadal Cannal as their chosen place to go serve the remainer of their time. He didn't get it, but was sent to New Mexico instead. His Buddy DID get it, and later wrote to him saying; "Don, be GLAD you didn't get what you thought you wanted. It's no fun picking up nothing but body parts all day long." So instead of being unhappy he was 'just a Cook', he decided he'd better be HAPPY with that! And it served him well later in his life with 10 kids he ended up helping to raise between his 2 wives. He was promoted twice, and ended up being Honorably Discharged on November 14th, 1949 as Sgt. Donald Fredrick Rush.
    Last week, as I was watching another History Channel program on WWII newsreels (our family in this house has always had a love of history and war movies and novels), it noted that only 10% of the World War II Veterans are still living today. That hit me hard to think my Dad is one of those included in that 10%. Though he never left Stateside to serve as a Replacement overseas, he did his duty just the same, and he volunteered like the millions before him. Too many of those in that Greatest Generation never came back home alive. And ALL were changed in some way. I've said "THANK YOU!" to so many Veterans and especially those of the Vietnam War era whom I thought were not given the respect they should have been upon their return. They were called, and went- just the same as millions before them. I stopped to wonder if I ever thanked my own Dad for the time he put in then? 
So here it is....and "Thanks, Dad," just doesn't seem to be enough for all he has done for me in my lifetime. I know I, and my siblings, and all the rest of the -literally hundreds of- kids he loved, had
fun with, and helped just as if they were his own, all along the way, are truly blessed for GOD keeping him with us so long.

Thanks, Dad. We love you so very much!

                                             THANKS, readers, for allowing me to share!
                                   Part 2, with my NOVEMBER TAG, is on it's way soon !

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