Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Memories

My parent’s and their friends were always together - inseparable. They are my family. Either we were at their homes or them at ours. At the dinner table I would listen to one war story after another. Mostly, the stories were funny. Here is one I remember - my dad was training in Hinesville Georgia, where there were all kinds of critters i.e. leeches and snakes. One particular evening, before dad went to sleep, his friends hid a rope in his bed. When dad tucked himself under the covers, they slowly began to pull on the rope, as if it was a real snake. My father jumped out of his bed! He didn’t think it was funny. Here’s another – while stationed in Seattle Washington, there was a certain sergeant who was mean and nasty. One evening at a party, dad and his friends decided to get this sergeant very drunk. When the deal was done, the sergeant was placed in a wheelbarrow, wheeled to a cliff, and gently dumped down the hill. Luckily the result was only KP – it could have been worse. They spoke of all the interesting characters - one of these was a soldier named Opperman, who walked around talking to himself, saying “time is timeless”, over and over again. The story doesn’t seem very funny, but if you saw the facial expressions of my godfather telling it, you would be laughing too. My father rarely shared stories of combat. But, I do remember; my godfather was wearing shorts – and I noticed bumpy red dots all over his legs. After I questioned him, my father told me the dots were shrapnel, still lodged in my godfather’s legs. My godfather was wounded by a grenade.

TOP L-R: Frank Bruno, Patrick DeClemente, Frank Acinapura, Frank Gugliotta
BOTTOM L-R: Robert E. Kennedy, John Gosdigian, William Dueltgen, Ed Schueler, John Murphy

Dad and his friends were all raised in Union City, New Jersey. Union City was a well known city years ago. There were bars, billiard halls – and boxing. The Hudson Theatre was there, famous for big acts, Abbot and Costello, Burns and Allen.

When dad was seventeen, he found some work through the CCC program fighting forest fires in Idaho. When he was came home, he and his friends joined the New Jersey National Guard. When WWII broke out, the Guard became Army. Luckily, the guys stayed together most of the time, traveling throughout the country, and training in different camps. Camp Chaffee, Ark., Ft. Benning, Ga., Camp Shelby, Miss. Dad was in the first training class of Camp Stewart, Ga. 1941. Finally, training with “D” Battery 212th Artillery in Seattle Washington. When my dad was stationed in Seattle, my mother traveled there to be with him. She found a job with Boeing Aircraft. Mom and dad decided to marry in Seattle. The wedding took place on Wednesday, January 20, 1943, in the midst of the worse snowstorm Seattle had experienced in twenty years.

The “38thStreet” boys soon shipped out to Europe. They traveled by vessel to Southampton England, then on to France and Germany. While in Europe, dad served with General George Patton’s Third Army. He experienced a “Patton” speech. He also participated in the Battle for the city of Metz.

At the end of the war, my father searched for his closest friend, not hearing from or about him in a long while. He soon discovered that Robert “Midge” Kennedy was killed during the planning of the Ruhr River crossing. Dad was devastated. “Midge” Kennedy now lies buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands. You can see a picture of Midge Kennedy, top photo, second from the left.

When my father returned home, he and his friends decided to establish their own veterans club, which would be named in honor of Robert E. Kennedy. It would be named the Robert E. Kennedy Veterans Club.

The Kennedy Club, always known as “The Club on 38th Street” in Union City New Jersey, lived on for many years, until the members died, or were too old to keep it going. My brother and I grew up in that club. Memorial Day was always special – The club members all marched in the parade – then back at the club, free hot dogs and hamburgers – for everyone! The stories, the characters, the Robert E. Kennedy Club - all are memories now, but these memories will forever be part of me.

God bless our veterans and our troops.


National World War II Memorial Website - here you can enter information and pictures of your loved ones who served in World War II.


jsolo said...

Our Choices
If you had a choice, right now, to choose to be with Christ Jesus in heaven would you choose to do so? Being human and having the power of choice, can we choose to ask God to grant us a wish? You see, there are three realms, earth, heaven, and hell. We live on the earth in the now, and we believe, as Christians, that at some point Christ will return to the earth and judge us in the final days. Between now and judgement day, death will end our stay on earth and God will judge our fate when that happens.

Christ said: "And all things whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you shall receive." What if, we asked God to stop this game that is being played out on earth, and grant us the one wish of living with him in heaven right now. What if, we choose to not allow Satan any more control over our lives and our future and made the decision to ask God to end this game. What if we, as human beings, with the power of choice, made a conscious decision to choose Christ Jesus, right now, over the day to day challenges and temptations that Satan offers.

Say, if in 2015, we were able to gather 9 billion, or 8 billion or 5 billion people, Jews, Catholics, Baptists, Protestants, Jahovah Witnessers, Lutherians, Episcapalians, Muslims, Buddists, Hindu’s, and every other worshiper, together to pray to God, asking him to bring us home. If we ask Jesus Christ to come, would he be with us??? If we asked him to bring us home to his kingdom in heaven, would we receive??? Do you want to stop playing this earthly game??? Our home is in heaven and not here on earth. Is that a challenge?? Can you see the vision???

Christ has said: "And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened." We can ask billions of people to take one moment in time to act as one, crying out to God, our heavenly Father, "Take us home." OH GOD, take us from the land of the Pharaohs!!! Take us from the hands of evil, bring us home to your kingdom!!! Can we ask strong enough?? Can we ask hard enough?? Can we ask loud enough??? Do you believe???

Christ said: "And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you. Hitherto you have not asked anything in my name. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full." Do we want to be filled with eternal joy?? Why have we not asked???

Can you imagine how we can make this happen?? Can you understand the power that God has given us in order that we may choose our own destiny, right now. We don’t have to wait until tomorrow, while Satan tricks and traps millions more souls into the fires of hell!!! The decision is ours. Can we choose?? Can we make this happen?? Can we start a holy movement around the world and set the date of our going home??? Or are our hearts hardened so much by this earthly realm that we can not conceive of the idea that God will grant our request???

Christ said: " I say to you further, that if two of you shall agree on earth about anything at all for which they ask, it shall be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together for my sake, there am I in the midst of them." Christ come into the mist of millions, of billions and grant our wish!!!

Take the poll!

Come, bind your spirit with mine so that we may work together to express this message. If you believe, leave a message so that we may communicate and the spirit of oneness and love may grow within us!!!

Make it happen!!!

This is your seed, plant it and watch it grow!!

Pass this message on to your friends and family!!

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love!

Give a contribution! Donate to this cause!


Dcn Scott Dodge said...


What a great blog!