Today is memorial day – set aside to remember the veterans who gave their lives in our wars. But every veteran offered his life. Whether it was taken in war or not. Today, I’d like to remember some of the veterans in my life.
Dr. H. W. Graves – World War I – Doctor was our family doctor, the physician who attended my birth and several others in our family. He was the community physician in Gypsum, Kansas, for many years. He taught the men’s Sunday school class at the Baptist Church for forty years or more. His hobby was photography. But there was much more to him than that.
Weaver William Mankin – World War I – This was my grandmother’s baby brother, the only boy in the family. I never knew him because she lost track of him during the depression in the early thirties. This was a void and sorrow she never got over, but it didn’t stop her from living. She simply rolled up her sleeves and got on with it.
Ralph Bernard Bigler – World War II – My mother’s older brother served in the navy in the Pacific fleet, first on the Saratoga, then on the Enterprise. He never talked about his service or the people he met in service — except for his wife.
Sylvia Gould was a Marine. He met her on a train after his naval training in Michigan. She was a Vermonter; he was a Kansas plowboy. But they married, reared four children, and died within months of each other. Both were in their eighties.
Oliver Louis Bigler – World War II – My mother’s younger brother served in the army, late in the war. He had washed out of his first physical because he had had rheumatic fever as a child and had a rheumatic heart. Later in the war, the standards were loosened and he qualified. They put him in intelligence. He never talked about the war either. Except, that is, for the time he went to this dance and met…
Mary Anna Roberts, the WAC who danced her way into his heart. They reared two daughters. Mary Anna spent sixteen year as an invalid and widow before her death a couple of years ago.
My husband was in Korea in the early fifties.
Louis John Bigler followed his father, Ralph, into the navy.
Until I visited the cemetery last week, I didn’t know that my cousin’s husband, Daniel Drummond, had also spent time in the serivce.
My nephew, Jeff Miller, served in Desert Storm.
My grandson, Eric Christian Andreasen, is currently in Okinawa, having served three tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
None of them spoke much about the wars they served in. You would never have known from the outside that they’d been anywhere or seen anything unusual. When you brought up the subject, you’d get a monosyllabic response, and the eyes would darken slightly, and the subject would be changed immediately.
They are my silent heroes.