Thinking of Our Veterans This #MemorialDay

Memorial Day graphic

I’m thinking about the men in my family who served our nation on this Memorial Day.

Two of my ancestors fought for the Union during the Civil War: one from Pennsylvania (my dad’s side of the family) and the other for West Virginia (my mom’s side of the family.) Both were wounded, one at Gettysburg, the other at the Battle of the Wilderness.

cannons

Memorial Day dates back to 1865, shortly after the end of the Civil War, when people in both North and South put decorations on the graves of those who fell in what is still the bloodiest war in American history. The holiday was called Decoration Day before the name was changed to Memorial Day.

My dad volunteered for service in World War II in August of 1942. He first tried to join the Navy as a Seabee, but was turned down for being underweight. He never was a large man, maybe 5’7″ tall. So he went across the hall to the Army Air Corps and enlisted. (He always said that in those days, the Army would take you if you could see light and hear thunder. He was quite the joker.) He worked on the ground crew of the bombers keeping the sights adjusted so the bombs would hit their target. He served first in North Africa and then in Italy.

My brother joined the Air Force right out of high school and served in the Pacific area as the Korean War was ending. I still have the doll he sent me from the Philippines.

In 2015 and again in 2016, I visited the Normandy landing beaches and the American cemetery in Colville. Learning about the D-Day landings and then seeing the rows of crosses really hits home the tremendous sacrifices made by our Allied soldiers that day. The experience is moving and humbling.

American cemetery

Grave markers at American cemetery, Colville, France

Wishing you all a joyful and meaningful Memorial Day.

Linda

Dublin’s Easter Rebellion Revisited #TuesdayTravels #Ireland #history

Tuesday Travels

My new Tuesday Travels banner.

I haven’t done a Tuesday Travels post in a while but today we’re revisiting Dublin in honor of the 102nd anniversary of Ireland’s Easter Rebellion.

The uprising began on April 24, 1916 while the United Kingdom was in the midst of World War I. Rebels from the secret the Irish Republican Brotherhood, led by Patrick Pearse, streamed into Dublin from the countryside. The armed men attacked government buildings and seized the General Post Office. After initial success, they declared Irish independence.

Dublin post office

The historic General Post Office, Dublin, Ireland.

However, the British launched a counteroffensive and the rebellion was crushed after only five days. The Irish people were initially not supportive of the rebellion, but the harsh measures meted out to the rebels stirred public resentment. The leaders of the uprising, including Pearse and James Connolly, were executed and became instant martyrs. When I visited Dublin Castle, we learned about the execution of the prisoners and visited a room dedicated to their memory.

Armed protests broke out and in 1921, a vote was held. 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties voted for independence and the Irish Republic was born. The other counties remain part of Northern Ireland, in the United Kingdom.

Statue of Michael Collins

When I was in Ireland, we took a day excursion to west County Cork where I saw this statue of Michael Collins, who participated in the Easter Rebellion and went on to be a leader of Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army. In Jan. 22, he became Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State until his assassination in August 1922.

Irish history is turbulent and disturbing, but quite fascinating. I’d love to see more of the Emerald Isle some day.

Linda