To Honor our Brave American Veterans

The family of Mother Goose spent Friday evening in the company of 2,000 luminaria.

So sad and yet so beautiful — my picture doesn’t come close to capturing the magnitude of 2000 luminaria all lined up in rows. Reminiscent of Flanders Field, but with all the lights there was a feeling of hope.

Each year, Cantigny Park in Wheaton sets them up in the Grand Parade Field to honor and pay tribute to the men and women who have served our great nation. Each of the candles represents seven 1st Infantry Division soldiers killed in action from World War I to the present, a total of 13,599 as of August 2012. That’s just in the Big Red One. The candles also stand in memory of the more than 650,000 soldiers and sailors and airmen and women who have given their lives in combat in defense of our country since the Revolutionary War.

The First Division Museum at the park also presented a program which featured living history re-enactors reading War Letters — letters written from the “front” from the Revolutionary War to the present day. It was moving and sobering — and because warriors are also human, the letters frequently brought smiles and some laughter from the audience. America’s sons and daughters, husbands and wives, expressing their longing for home, their hatred of war, and mostly their love of family.

This is the lobby of the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park.

“War Letters” was accompanied by a multi-media presentation of music and pictures and film clips of soldiers in days gone by.

We brought two of our kids to this evening of remembering the veterans and soldiers. It is the hope of this old goose that my children will grow up to change our world into a place where peace is the only option. Though we honor and love our veterans and soldiers and their families, we mourn the mad loss of life and pray for peace in our land and in our hearts.

God bless you today.

Love, Mother Goose

Grampa worked on the ALCAN Highway

Mother Goose continues her history lesson with the news that Grampa Lawrence worked on the Alaska Highway in 1942. According to my dad, Grampa and his best friend Jack built cabins and eating places for the Army Corps of Engineers who were clearing the land and doing road construction on the 1,522 mile highway into the wilderness. The Alcan stretches from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska through mountain ranges and over crazy dangerous rivers.

Here are some ancient pictures I’ve borrowed from online sources so that you can get a feel for the conditions and the environment of Alaska in 1942.

Photo courtesy of Olive-Drab.com. Thank you very much!

Thanks to Olive-Drab.com for this pic.

Thanks to Reese-Olsen Construction for this pic.

Photo courtesy of Reese-Olsen Construction

The long, lanky and lean man on the right MIGHT be Lawrence Frame. Photo from Reese-Olsen Construction.

This is what I found most notable of this amazing story: The number of U.S. soldiers who built this road through a rugged unmapped region of North America was 10,607. This was the first time that a U.S. government agency integrated white and black men — 3,695 of the soldiers were black. They worked twenty hour days, seven days a week for eight months and twelve days. An impossible task!

“According to the testimony of their commanders, these men did an exceptional job under duress. Ill housed, often living in tents with insufficient clothing and monotonous food, they worked 20 hour days through a punishing winter. Temperatures hovered at 40-below-zero for weeks at a time. A new record low of -79 was established. The majority of these troops were from the South; yet, they persevered. On the highway’s completion, many were decorated for their efforts and then sent off to active duty in Europe and the South Pacific. The veterans of the Army’s Black Corps of Engineers were members of the 93rd, 95th, 97th and 388th units.” (Quote courtesy of visi.com)

Photo taken by First Lt. Samuel Land, 95th Engineers. Thank you for your service!

Folks, I am going to study this further. I am convinced of the great heroics of these soldiers from the 95th Regiment of the Army Corps of Engineers and want to learn more about their work on behalf of the United States of America. One of my first questions was this: why the incredible urgency to build this road after years and years of talk and bureaucracy? The answer is this: Japan had captured several islands of the Aleutian chain and had established military bases there. They also had submarines patrolling the coasts of Canada and Alaska making travel by sea very dangerous. America needed a land-based route to Fairbanks in defense of its people.

Mother Goose says “thanks” to these brave soldiers for helping to keep America safe and free.

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