Posts Tagged ‘WWII Vets’

Christopher Nolan’s new movie Dunkirk will open in July, but you can watch the trailer now. The Rolling Stone called it “Gripping,” and said the trailer moves forward with, “…white-knuckle intensity.” Seeing as the Rocker composed the music and sound design for this one, I can understand why:

Nolan wrote and directed the movie, which takes place in 1940, when 400,000 Allied troops were surrounded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, caught between the English channel at their backs and the German army on land. Civilian sailors joined the English navy and air force for an all-hands-on-deck evacuation operation. http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/see-gripping-new-trailer-for-christopher-nolans-dunkirk-w480901

I’d never heard of this story, about simple Sunday sailors and fishermen setting sail across the channel to rescue their British troops. If Hitler had turned his army toward that edge of sand, the war might have been over before we got our chance to jump in after Pearl Harbor.

Great Grandpa Hudson remembers seeing kamikaze pilots in the Pacific even after Hiroshima. He was retelling some of his war stories this week while we were visiting, and Great Grandma Ada told us some of her frustration with the VA. She’d been trying to get her WWII Vet a new set of hearing aides for months.

Hudson just turned 91 in April. He is one of two men left from the ship he served on in the Pacific. The Navy made him the cobbler onboard when he was a teenager, which probably sparked his interest in woodcarving. Totem poles abound around their property that he has painstakingly carved over the years. He is starting to slow down now, but still has a twinkle in his eye!

I was struck again at how profoundly deaf Hudson has become, and how isolating that can be for him and all our seniors. He and Grandma waited months for a new set of hearing aides to arrive, making calls to no avail, until finally Ada wrote to the Administrator, the Boss of the whole operation. All of a sudden, she received emails and calls tracking the package, a semi-apology, and supposedly the hearing aides are actually in the mail and on the way.

Did the package actually ship? Was their address correct? Who knows, but not many 90+ year olds are married to such a feisty 93 year old!

It’s Memorial Day weekend and if you’re not traveling, you’re probably barbequing something. But let’s not forget our Veterans, the men and women who risked life and limb only to return home to staggering “wait times” in order to see a doctor at their local VA. The proposed new budget from Mr T’s administration may look good to some, but is in reality a typical GOP move to outsource services:  “We are very concerned the administration’s request to make the Veterans Choice Program a permanent, mandatory program could lead to a gradual erosion of the VA health care system,” the VFW stated Wednesday in written testimony.'” It’s kind of like eroding the public school system by pushing charter schools. http://taskandpurpose.com/veterans-groups-criticize-proposed-va-budget-cuts-elderly-vets-benefits/

Funding for medical research will be reduced by 30 Million, and the new priorities will be Gulf War Vets and opioid and suicide prevention. This is all well and good, but let’s not forget our elderly Vets. When I found out that Medicare doesn’t pay for hearing aides, or audiology testing, I was dumbfounded. Bob told us that soon enough we will be able to purchase hearing aides over the counter. Ada said, “But will they be any good?”

A feeling of not being heard would land me into a state of deep despair. It’s such an important sense, not just for communicating by phone that a set of hearing aides have not yet arrived, but for our ability to connect with others.

When the call went out to send as many sea-worthy vessels as possible to evacuate the British soldiers from Dunkirk, 933 ships responded including battleships from the Royal Navy and a 14 ft open-topped fishing boat. They brought back 338,226 Allied soldiers over eight days while being bombarded by Nazi planes.

What if they never heard the call?

Cville Wedding Tastings 055




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Some of you may be watching the Belmont Stakes, but I’ve been texting with my brother-in-law Charlie.
He’s in DC with his Dad, Hudson Favell, a WWII vet making his first pilgrimage to the Washington memorials.

Townships in NJ redirected traffic and stood at attention to salute the vets traveling South today. Bus loads of octogenarians who signed up as teenagers to fight for freedom and democracy on foreign shores.

On this D Day weekend we thank these brave men for their courage.

And I particularly want to thank you Hudson, for serving on the Zaniah, and for being the best Grandfather my children could ever dream of – for loving them, carving them beautiful wooden blocks, officiating at the Bride’s wedding, and taking care of Grandma Ada! You are the best of the greatest generation!



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When the Bride graduated from college, she hit the road with her future Maid of Honor (MOH) and BFF Sarah. Like Oprah and Gayle, or Thelma and Louise, only my duo didn’t get arrested, at least not that I know of… So when my MIL Ada called to say that she and her husband, Hudson, (A and H respectively) were hitting the road to bring his WWII Navy ship reunion to his group of veterans, I said, “Bring it!” Hudson had been meeting every Fall with some twenty to thirty vets from their support ship, the Zaniah, for the past few decades. Sailors were ferried to repair other ships in the South Pacific and served at Okinawa. These men are now well into their 80’s and fewer and fewer have been able to make the trip to a resort location – last year the reunion organizer’s wife died, and he had a stroke. Just when it was looking like the end of the road for their reunion plans, A and H decided to bring the reunion to them; a two person/octogenarian/recreational/tourist board.

Their first stop on the way to North Carolina was our house. We always like to save a handyman project for Hudson, because he was the kind of Baptist missionary who built roads and wells in Ghana. He even worked on the Alaskan pipeline; Hudson (known as “Red” by his shipmates since back then he was a ginger) is a regular Jack London type of guy. If he had said he jumped the rails and dug for gold in California, I’d believe him. The Bride asked her Grandpa if he would officiate at her wedding, and sure enough, he came by train with his chainsaw since he was still sculpting a tree on our property. All I could think was, isn’t it good there are no metal detectors on Amtrak. Now retired from Pastoral Counseling, he is happiest on a ladder carving totem poles! Yep, here’s the proof.

My Cardinal Totem

Naturally before climbing up on our roof to install some kind of cell phone amplifier that Bob thought was the project du jour for Red, I had a word or two to say. Well mostly I said, “No way, are you kidding?” The plan was for Bob to get up on the roof and Hudson would hold the ladder and be the logistics guy. While the ladies took off for Chico’s, the guys managed to fly over the Blue Ridge for some leaf peeping and attach the gizmo to the roof. Needless to say, they were very proud of their efforts. And I have to admit, we no longer have to stand out on the deck for 2 cellphone bars.

Happy Trails A and H. Give those vets a dose of your can-do spirit! I’m planning a Roadtrip of my own, after all I’ve never been to Graceland or the Grand Canyon. I wonder if Red would want to come along?

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