Tag Archives: Memorial Day

Remembering the Wahoo

27 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

My Uncle Howell’s submarine, the Wahoo went missing during WWII. It wasn’t until years later the submarine remains were found. By then, all of his family had passed away without having closure. I remember and honor him and all of those who lost their lives on the Wahoo during the grueling battle.

Memorial Day-Two Families Remember

28 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites


Author, Poet and Artist



I knew my friend, Patricia had a wonderful family tradition. She grew up in a mountain valley where her great-grandfather had homesteaded. Some of the family has left the valley, some have stayed. Here is Patricia’s story:



 Memorial Day or Decoration Day as it was first called, was observed by most of the community who had loved ones buried in the cemeteries.  The tradition was started to commemorate those who had died in the wars.  People brought flowers and flags in the spring to place at their graves.  Spring, because the flowers were beginning to bloom, (there were no artificial flowers). Decoration Day officially began in 1868 and was on the last Monday of May.  Traditionally families and church members would celebrate it on that day.  Flowers only lasted a day or two, so we would go out on Sunday or Monday to decorate and visit with other family and friends, many of whom we saw only once a year, as they would come home to decorate the family graves.  It was a time to connect with old acquaintances who had moved away and came back to honor their loved ones and visit with old friends.

 My family still goes out to decorate and acquaint the youngsters with their ancestors.  Many good stories are shared and the children are very interested in learning about the people who are buried there and how they lived their lives back in their day.  They want to know how they are connected.  We have so many ancestors now that the children cannot remember them all.  Fortunately, we have family history documented by family members, to be passed down to the younger ones.  Hopefully, there will always be someone there to take care of the family and the old tradition. 

 We are excited about our visit beginning tomorrow with our children who will all be getting together for the once a year get together.  For three years it has coincided with our granddaughters’graduations.  So we are busily preparing, corresponding, coordinating, etc., which is very hectic, but also very fun and rewarding.  Nothing can be planned in advance, because everything changes, so I do not worry about the planning anymore.  It always works out.  Looking forward to seeing our kids tomorrow.





My grandparents settled in a town fifty-two miles away from where Patricia lived, but I got to live in her community from the time I was 7 until I was 12. It almost broke my heart to leave, but Dad and Mom had sold Min’s Café and Dad had a new job in Los Alamos.

All four of my grandparents and two of my great grandparents along with an aunt and two second cousins are buried in this larger town. Our Mother took us there when we were children to tell stories about her parents and grandparents. Her parents had graves next to each other near the beginning of the cemetery. They were also near their long-time friends and neighbors and each couple has a pine tree, now huge at the site of their grave. Mother’s dad died in 1939 when I was six months old. Dad and Mom came home from Nevada to take over the gas company his father-in-law had run before his death. Mom’s mother passed on when I was seven. I remember Mother crying and serving customers for days.

I was an adult with grown children when my Grandparents died. I didn’t get to attend Granddad’s funeral, but I did fly there for Grandmother’s.


Ten years ago I met with my brother, his wife, and her sister to bury our Mother and Dad’s ashes. The aunt who is gone now and two of her daughters came and brought their families. My brother lived in California and we lived in Florida. He kept their ashes until we could meet in the middle. Our son had a combined business trip and vacation so his wife and two children attended. Our daughter and her husband flew with us and our daughter got us a bed and breakfast to stay in that was the same two-storyfloor plan as Grandmother and Granddad’s house and just down the street.

Being together again went a long way in tempering our grief. We did the service ourselves and stayed in the park visiting on a sunny November day. My brother had just picked up a beautiful puppy at the Denver airport, and our grandchildren sat on the grass and took turns holding him while he rested after his strenuous journey. Afterward,our son drove the immediate family to the valley town where Patricia and I had lived as a children.


Memorial Day Memories

28 May


Judy Wills




Tomorrow is Memorial Day 2017.

Credit Google Search and Time Magazine

I know I’ve mentioned before that I am fiercely patriotic about my country. I’ve had the great privilege of being born and growing up in the United States of America.   I’ve also had the privilege of living in another country. It was such a lesson to see how other countries view the U.S.

My brother, Bill, enlisted in the Navy right out of high school. I remember a time when he was shipped overseas, and I became afraid for him. But he came home, safe and sound.

And then I met the man who would become my husband – and the love of my life. Fred’s father was a Chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. And even though I became more interested in the military at that point – because of Fred’s Dad – it wasn’t until Fred joined the U.S. Air Force himself that my interest became intense. I had not ever really envisioned what military life was all about.

I’ve seen advertisements for t-shirts that state that the military person was one who, at some point in their lives, signed a blank check to the U.S. Government, up to and including their lives.

And that brings us to Memorial Day. I’ve not had a family member die in battle. My heart cries for those who have had that happen. But I do have a family history of military service.

My Dad – I didn’t know for quite a few years, that my Dad served with the U.S. Army in World War 1. He was in the medical corps, and served in France.



My brother served in the U.S. Navy – active duty for four years, then more in the reserves. He was stationed on board ships in the Mediterranean and in Japan.



Bill Lites


My husband served for over 22 years in the U.S. Air Force as a meteorologist. He served in six states and twice in West Germany.



My father-in-law served in the U.S. Army – later in the U.S. Air Force – for over 28 years as a Chaplain. He served all over the world. In 1943 he was wounded in the invasion of Sicily, by shrapnel from a German mortar. He carried the quarter-size piece of shrapnel in his body, too near his heart to be removed, for over 66 years.



My brother-in-law – Fred’s brother – served in the U.S. Air Force as a Chaplain for 20 years.



All-in-all, that adds up to nearly 80 years of service to this country by my family members. And it was all done voluntarily.

All of these men are veterans. And that marks the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

Memorial Day honors those who gave their lives defending this country. They are the ones who, when they signed that blank check to the U.S. Government, actually gave up their lives for freedom.

And that’s the crux of this:   it is our military that has given us our freedom – not the politicians in Washington D.C. As a matter of fact, I think that service in our nation’s military should be a prerequisite for holding government office.

I would like to honor the memory of all those who have died for the cause of freedom. Outside of the cause for Christ….there is no other greater.




Credit Google Search and clipart panda


May God 🇺🇸 bless America!





A Memorial Day Tribute

25 May


Judy Wills


Growing up, I only had a small nodding acquaintance with the military. I knew that my Dad had served in World War 1 as a medic, because he refused to carry a weapon. And my Mother worked in accounting at Kirtland AFB in town. She would occasionally bring home some of those young airmen that she worked with. They were usually quite homesick, and she was attached to them. But that was my only connection with the military.

Until I met Fred.

He was in Albuquerque to attend the University of New Mexico (UNM) (a story in itself), but his family was far away in Japan. I learned that his Dad was a military chaplain, and that they had traveled the world.


About the time Fred and I married and moved to Fort Worth, Texas, his family moved to Bossier City, Louisiana (Barksdale AFB) – near Shreveport – just about a four-hour drive for us. We visited them as often as we could on weekends. That was my first real taste of the military life – staying in their quarters on base.

But it wasn’t until Fred actually went into the Air Force that I came to know about true military life – we began to live it, ourselves. I began to see how dedicated men and women were to serving and protecting their country. I began to see how this country that I love so much could possibly be speaking German – or Japanese – if it weren’t for those who were willing to give their lives for our freedom through both World Wars.

I became fiercely patriotic. And I also became fiercely proud of my husband, his father, my brother, and our father – for the contributions they all made to our freedoms.
When Fred’s Dad died, the military funeral was absolutely breath-taking.

The flag was folded and presented, with a salute.


We have that folded flag in a case. It is a constant reminder to us of what the military life means to the men and women of our armed forces. I know that not all military personnel are as dedicated to this country – but I could probably venture a guess that at least 95% of them are willing to give up their lives to protect our freedoms.

Have you ever visited the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery in D.C.?

4 png
Seeing it, and the Marine guard, is one of the most moving and emotional experiences for me. I’m so glad that this country honors it’s military as it does. It shows that we still have “heart” and love of country. And I am so grateful that God has allowed me to live in this free country.

May God bless the U.S.A.


Psalm 147:7
Sing to the Lord with grateful praise

The Home of Heroes

28 May

We are celebrating Memorial Day with our guest  Patricia Franklin. I love home town  stories, hope you do too.

Our town, Pueblo, Colorado, has a designation as “The Home of Heroes.” Our river walk has a section called the “Walk of Valor.” We have four Medal of Honor winners from Pueblo, the most from any place in the U.S. Their statues are at one end of the river walk. On the trail, there is a pedestrian bridge called “Veteran’s Bridge.” It is the only monument in the U.S. to honor veterans from every branch of the service. Originally, you could place the name of a veteran on a plaque for $75 to help build the bridge, so we did that for my husband who was in the service. There is still room for more names, but the cost is a little more now.

Further along at the end of the “Walk of Valor” is a building called the Center for American Values. One of our local photographers took pictures of all the living veterans who were Medal of Honor winners and they are displayed in this building, which is laid out like a classroom. It is free and open to the public and they take school kids there and teach them about the constitution, etc. Some local citizens, including one of the Medal of Honor winners who lives in Pueblo put this in place.

Some firefighters from New York visited here last year and were so impressed that they wanted to give something to the city. They sent a steel beam that came from the World Trade Center. The grandkids and I  were here right after it arrived and it was sitting on the floor of the Center at that time. We actually touched it and unsuccessfully tried to lift it, Anyway, the firefighters came back last weekend and our fire departments, police and sheriff departments, veterans, citizens and visitors were all present and we had the dedication of the monument you see here, dedicated to 9-11.

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