The cost of “free”dom – thoughts on Memorial Day

“When the ways of people please the Lord, he makes even their enemies live at peace with them.” Proverbs 16:7. I think about this in relation to America and terrorism. I see no way to deal with terrorism other than that the Lord intervene, but I really don’t see how He can intervene if we, as a people, are not pleasing Him. I think about this on Memorial Day, a day we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. I remember how Paul prayed for the early church at Colossae, “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will with all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives, so you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way.” (Colossians 1:9b,10a.)

Today my husband and I will plant flowers on the graves of deceased family members who served in the military. My husband is a genealogist so he has a lot of information on our relatives. Today I give thanks on Multitudes on Mondays for those of our families who fought for American freedom throughout the centuries:

Tiadaghton Elm where Fair Play Men signed the Tiadaghton Declaration of Independence

# 150  Robert Love – (a distant relative of my husband, great great great great grandfather) one of the “Fair Play Men” who was elected to settle disputes in the Jersey Shore area before there was law. He was one of the men who signed the Tiadaghton Declaration of Independence which was signed about the time that the official Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia July 4, 1776. This “local” document was signed under the famous Tiadagton Elm in present day Clinton County. He is recognized by the American Daughters of the American Revolution as a patriot his part in declaring independence from England. He served with Thomas Robinson’s Rangers in the Revolution. The book Little Pine Valley Story tells his story.

# 151 Samuel Winder was my great-great grandfather. He fought in the Civil War “to free the slaves”. He was one of the soldiers of the 203 regiment PA Infantry, Company H. In the book Advance the Colors by Richard H Sauers, the story is told how January 15, 1865 they were the first unit to  arrive to take the fort by siege. His regiment climbed the steep slopes up to Fort Fisher, a supply storage unit in North Carolina, in order to take it. He was wounded 4 times: L thigh, R wrist, L side of jaw, and L thumb, but continued to climb and was ultimately successful. After the battle, Admiral Porter remarked, “I have since visited Fort Fisher and its adjoining works, and find their strength beyond what I conceived. An engineer might be excusable in saying they could not be captured, except by regular siege. I wonder even now how it was done…and yet it was captured by a handful of men…and in seven hours after the attack commenced in earnest.” from the pages of the  History of  Pennsylvania Volunteers by Samuel P. Bates.

# 152 Charles Miller, my husband’s great-great-great grandfather, was in the 112th Regiment, 2nd PA Heavy Artillery, Company H whose main duty was to protect Washington DC. He was shot in the right leg, captured by the Confederates and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond after fighting a battle at Fort Harrison, Va on Sept 28, 1864. At Libby Prison a Confederate surgeon amputated his leg. He was paroled and told to go home. Somehow, immediately after the surgery on October 4, 1864 he made it back to Union lines and was in hospitals in the Annapolis/Baltimore area over the course of the next year. Ironically, the 1870 census lists him as being a shoemaker.

# 153 Carl Berry, my husband’s uncle, quit his job to join the Army during World War II when he could have been exempted because he had a job making uniforms for the armed forces, but he wanted to be in the fighting force. He was on the ground in Europe. They sent him home after he was wounded, but, once healed, he returned to the battlefield and was killed in the Battle of the Bulge.

# 154 Clinton Solt, my husband’s uncle, was in the Air Force during World War II. He crawled back in the tail of the plane after it was bombed to rewire the steering mechanisms which

Uncle Clinton standing by bombed plane he rewired for the landing

then allowed them to steer the plane again and fly to safety. His mechanical ability and bravery saved the lives of all those on the plane that day.

# 155  My father, Floyd Schon, fought 28 days during World War II — on Iwo Jima. He was a Marine and fought in hand-to-hand combat when enemy soldiers got down in the hull of the tank he operated. I have letters my grandmother kept that he wrote to her telling her he was o.k. and not to worry. He was never o.k. again. He shook in his sleep, drank too much and always felt guilty that he survived Iwo Jima when so many had died.

# 156 My husband’s father, Harry Russell Blanchard, Sr., was a sargeant in the Army and spent most of his time in the Philippines during World War II. He was a quiet man and never shared much about his experiences.

# 157  My husband’s cousin, Clinton Solt, flew a helicopter during the Vietnam War doing search and rescue. Not only did he survive, but many others survived because of his bravery.

# 158 My husband’s brother, Ralph Blanchard, was career Navy, retiring as a Chief. He was in the Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. One story my husband shared with me was when Ralph was a gunner’s mate. The gun overheated and could have exploded. Ralph cleared everyone out and manned the gun till he was able to disable it, risking his life alone.

#  159 My daughter, Joyce Blanchard, was on the first air craft carrier to leave for duty after 9/11. The USS Theodore Roosevelt was out to sea without going into port longer than any other ship in Naval history. America just didn’t know who her friends were after September 11, 2001 so they didn’t dock. My daughter tells how every so often a helicopter would have to come to take sailors who were “going crazy” from the claustrophobic conditions off the ship. She worked 20 hours, slept 4 hours and got up to work again during “shock and awe”.

I feel a bit like the writer of Hebrews as I post all this. After he lists all the great saints of the faith, he says, “And what more can I say? For time will fail me if I  tell of …..” (Hebrews 11:32) Yes, time would fail me if I listed ALL the great freedom fighters on both sides of our family. There were many more and civilian heroes, too.  My husband’s grandmother’s childhood home was set up as a hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Today I honor each and every one of them. I sit in my sun room free to watch my mama robin and sip tea as my dogs sit around my feet because they gave.

Praying for wisdom to please Him in every way, while I say, “Thank you, Family,”

Dawn

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4 comments on “The cost of “free”dom – thoughts on Memorial Day

  1. When you say that we are free to sit in peace and sip tea because of the sacrifices made by the brave that went before us it brings tears to my eyes. This is so very true. Beautiful post honoring your family.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
    Have a blessed week.

    • Dear Serena,

      Why I can live in freedom and abundance and others can not is a mystery to me, but I know many in my family have paid a great price for my luxury and I AM thankful.

      Thanks for your post,
      Blessings,
      Dawn

  2. Oh, Dawn, it is such a mystery! Thank you for letting me read about your family members. There has been a lot of sacrifice in your family-for so many others. Thank you. Your father, that brings tears just thinking of the horrors he must have been reliving over and over so many times after the war.

    • Dear A.,

      You are a wonder. You went through and read all that history on my family. I posted it for my kids so they would know what their family sacrificed, and didn’t think many others would be interested. It is so like you to want to know about others. Thank you. My father was ruined by war. He was president of his class in high school and a quarterback for the football team. He also was president of Future Farmers of American at his school. He wanted nothing more than to run his own farm. When he came back from Iwo Jima he was only a shell of a man. His spirit had been ripped out of his person. He was never able to regain his confidence. Death would probably have been kinder. Nevertheless, I learned an incredible amount from him: about honesty, purity and the value of my citizenship. It has been my privilege to talk with you about him.

      Wishing you all the blessings of heaven,
      Dawn

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