Heroes Are People Who Serve

November 11, 2017 will be the 98th time that Americans remember those who have served our country in uniform on this specific day. Veterans Day is a day that The United States honors their military veterans; that is anyone who served in the United States Armed Forces.

Below you’ll find a short history lesson that I found on the internet, it is always important to learn more about where we have come from so that we can be better people today. Hope you’ll check it out as President Wilson’s message was pretty awesome.

Honor is defined as integrity in one’s beliefs and actions; a source of distinction; or simply high respect. I personally believe that veterans are a symbol of honor. We need to show more appreciation to them because of their willingness to put their lives on the line. Service men and women protect and serve the freedoms & values that our great nation were founded. Personally I have true respect for all that have served!

Over the summer my book club read an amazing book called Ashley’s War by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. A huge reason why I love book club so much is that it forces me to read books that I wouldn’t normally pick up. Imagine getting out of your comfort zone…scary right. Who wants to do that? Well in this one instance I LOVE IT! This book was a game stopper, it tells so many lessons but my favorite is that any young American girl can dream of becoming a solider for her country while serving in battle. The story line in this book follows a Special Operations team of women who were sent into Afghanistan in 2011 to serve on the frontlines. This book is a must read for anyone! Anyone who wants to dream big and chase after those dreams. Look I am not a HUGE feminist but dang I would be kidding myself if I didn’t feel super proud of this group of women who chose to stick out and not stop till they got what they wanted to achieve.

Photo of Ashley White

While reading I couldn’t help but ask myself ‘who do I think of as heroes in my life’? This line really put that question into perspective “A stranger with a child in her hand came up to her and she said, “Mrs. White, I brought my daughter here today, because I wanted her to know what a hero was. And I wanted her to know that heroes could be women, too.” Who are your heroes? How you personally define what a hero is? Heroes to me are people who stand up for what is right, they are the leaders who make a difference for others. These people don’t have to famous, they certainly don’t have to be rich in their pockets. Heroes are those who live full lives and are at peace.

I challenge all of you readers (hoping I have a few followers by now) to take a minute of your day and thank a person you know who has served in the US Armed Forces. I am lucky to know a few and you’ll find a list of people in my family who have served. But want to give a special shout out to a guy who went to college with my brother – his name is Matthew Windhol. Last December as he was literally finishing his final hours of his career with the US Marines and agreed to picked up my Dad from the airport in Hawaii. My Dad booked a last minute trip to be a part of the 75th anniversary of December 7th 1941. Windhol joined the Marines after college and truly embodies the definition of hero.

USS O’Brien (DD-725) – The fourth O’Brien (DD-725) was laid down by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, 12 July 1943 and launched on 8 December 1943; sponsored by Miss Josephine O’Brien Campbell greatgreat-great granddaughter of Gideon O’Brien. 

Honored to have had the following family members serve in the US Armed Services:

Captain Bruce Foerster (Dad): In September of 1963 entered the US Naval Officer Candidate School in New Port Rhode Island and also completed US Naval Destroyer School. Serving on the USS O’Brein (DD-725) he was the Weapons Officer and Senior Watcher Officer. While serving many years as a Reservist he attended the US Naval War College.

Frederick Foerster (paternal grandfather): Commissioned officer U.S. Army Medical Corps 1943; attached 298th General Hospital (formed at University of Michigan Medical School), Frenchay Park Hospital, Bristol, England. Unit landed at Utah Beach (D+39) as first general hospital in theater; took over 1500-bed French Marine Hospital in Cherbourg, France; later created 1000-bed hospital in over 200 tents outside Liegè in Alleur, Belgium (Battle of the Bulge); treated over 43,000 patients. EAME Theater ribbon with three service stars; Meritorious Unit citation; discharged Major 1946
Lt. William E. Beckham II (maternal grandfather) – JG-US Navy-Minesweeper/English Channel/Bronze Star for D-Day (6/6/1944).

Chester E Homer II (maternal great uncle): US Army/ 82nd Airborne-Private, fought at Battle of Bulge (Bastogne/Dec 1944), liberated Wobbelin Concentration Camp (near Hamburg/early Spring 1945) and served with Occupation of Berlin (post May 1945)-all by age 19.

 

Links:

Ashley’s War – book mentioned above

Veterans Oceans Adventures – a great organization based in South Florida. Their mission is Create an opportunity for veterans to experience the healing power of water.

The Veterans Trust – another amazing group local to South Florida led by military veterans for their peers. As a strategic grant-making foundation, The Veterans Trust is dedicated to promoting cooperation, coordination and collaboration of veteran-focused resources in order to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of these efforts.

 

***Special Thank You to Julie Johnson, she is our go-to family historian on the Beckham side of my family, lucky to have her wealth of knowledge available. Julie you are always so willing to research or retell any story or piece of family history, many thanks! We appreciate your knowledge and love for genealogy.

 

 

 

 

Wikipedia History Lesson

On November 11, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN

The White House, November 11, 1919.

A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of inter national relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half. – With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we re modeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought. Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men. To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with – solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.

 

The United States Congress adopted a resolution on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday: “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, determined Weeks as the “Father of Veterans Day.”

U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954. It had been eight and a half years since Weeks held his first Armistice Day celebration for all veterans.

Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.

The National Veterans Award was also created in 1954. Congressman Rees of Kansas received the first National Veterans Award in Birmingham, Alabama, for his support offering legislation to make Veterans Day a federal holiday.

Although originally scheduled for celebration on November 11 of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October (Oct 25, 1971; Oct 23, 1972; Oct 22, 1973; Oct 28, 1974; Oct 27, 1975; Oct 25, 1976 and Oct 24, 1977). In 1978, it was moved back to its original celebration on November 11. While the legal holiday remains on November 11, if that date happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday, then organizations that formally observe the holiday will normally be closed on the adjacent Friday or Monday, respectively.

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