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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Entries in ww2 (6)

Saturday
Nov122011

NYC Veterans Day Parade 2011

The NYC Veterans Day Parade is the largest celebration in the country, with 20,000 veterans, supporters, bands, and other entertainment marching in the parade. It was a beautiful fall day. I had the great opportunity to chat with some sweet WWII Veterans, thanking them for their courage.

 

Click the picture to start the slideshow. Then click the square and arrow icon in the lower right hand corner to view the pictures full screen.

Thursday
Oct202011

Tom Brokaw's Tribute to The Greatest Generation

I'm just about finished reading The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw and I couldn't wait to spread the word about how much I enjoyed this book. This is a very emotional and inspirational tribute to those of the World War II generation. He shares the stories of ordinary people who were called to serve and protect our country overseas, women who found work in factories to support the forces, heroes who gave their lives for our freedom, individuals who faced racial adversity. Brokaw pieced together the stories of this generation beautifuly. He demonstrated how this great generation played a significant role in securing the future prosperity of our country; through hard work, determination, teamwork, and the heartbreaking love stories.

Brokaw opens the book with his childhood. Growing up in the prairies of South Dakota he was surrounded by individuals who gave their service to our country in World War II. But it wasn't until he was on assignment in Normandy, France for the 40th anniversary of D-Day, that the true sacrifice and greatness of this generation hit home. Talking with American soldiers who returned to the beaches for the somber anniversary, listening to their stories, hearing the pain and sadness in their voices. Brokaw describes this experience as "a life-changing experience".

I completely understand this sentiment. What I have learned about my grandfather and his WWII experience has changed my life. Growing up I knew my grandfather, Col. Joseph K Wright, had served in WWII but had little to no interest in what he did or his story. He passed away in 2004, before I started on this journey of exploring my family history and it's place in the history and I am left with questions and a sadness for him. I am doing what I can to piece together his story, but I just wish I could have discussed it with him. Reading this book has given me such insight into the struggle and sacrifice of his generation.

In 1942 Joseph married my grandmother in Seattle, Washington where he was stationed for training, probably wanting to be married before his inevitable deployment overseas. A story so common for the time period. My grandmother was one of the lucky ones who had her sweetheart return to her alive. A byproduct of this terrible war I never considered was the vast number of young twenty something widows left to rebuild and move on with their lives. So many with young babies who never had the chance to meet their father. How devastating it must have been for them, one day learning the life they had envisioned and planned would never happen. In the book Brokaw shares a few of their stories and it is truly heart breaking. (Pg. 257 the stories of Jeanette Gagne Norton and Daphne Cavin...get the tissues ready.)

The picture to the left was taken May 1943 in Olympia, Washington. Left to right: Joe (my grandfather), Marjorie (my grandmother), Charlie, Jimmy, Bea, Peg, Rus, Harry, Nella.

With the current economic climate this book would be a a real eye opener for many to realize just how bad it could really be (AND WAS!) and serve as inspiration for moving forward through tough times. This generation worked hard and persevered through the toughest of times. They grew up during the great depression with nothing. When called to action they enlisted and fought in foreign lands leaving behind loved ones and their individual future. While they fought they saw their friends and brothers killed- all the while having to continue on and stay alive. For those who made it back home they continued to work hard and administered the principles learned in the war to their every day lives. A never ending work ethic and dedication to community. We could all learn a lot from this great generation.

I definitely recommend reading this book. Do you have a WWII book recommendation?

Saturday
Jul302011

* How to Get Military Personnel Records from the National Archives

Do you have a parent or grandparent who served in the US Military? Want to know more about their service? The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) has millions of records from WWI- present day.

If you are the veteran or the next of kin of a deceased veteran you can use the National Archives eVetRecs online system to start your records request online. You can also download form SF-180 to fill out by hand and send your request via snail mail. Even if you complete the online request, you still have to print out a form to sign and send via fax or mail to the records center in St. Louis.

I've had a great experience so far! When my family found my grandfather's WW2 medals, I immediately wanted to know more. We were limited with information, he is deceased and we didn't have any records or documentation. I completed an online records request and mailed in the signed form about 3 weeks ago. I was so excited yesterday when I checked the mail and found a nice thick envelope from the National Personnel Records Center!

I received many documents, including typed letters of recommendation submitted by a NJ Congressman and Senator to the Army in 1946 on behalf of my grandfather, his division information from WWII, and documentation for his medals. More to come on what I've learned from these documents!

This is a FREE service! Check out the National Archives Website for more information.

Thursday
Jun022011

* how to use google maps to make a custom genealogy map

10 Steps to a FREE Custom Google Map! It's so easy, all you need to save "My Maps" is a free Google account. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for one here. I use this tool for mapping out the different addresses I find from my ancestors census records, military records, letters, jobs, etc... Addresses can be found in so many places! I love visualizing where they lived and playing with the data. You can then print these maps or invite other people to view your map. Once you are signed into your Google account follow these 10 steps to create your custom maps!

Click to read more ...