Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In Remembrance . . .

“Freedom doesn't come free and doesn't just affect the person serving. It's like dropping a rock into a pond. The ripples touch us all.”

       ~ Melinda Curtis


Remembrance Day — A Canadian Perspective

Sadly, we live in a world where there is tragedy, strife and true evil. As an example, how could a heart not be broken to have learned of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo—soldier, devoted single father, dog rescuer—being shot point-blank in the back on October 22nd while standing guard at the Canadian war memorial in Ottawa? Or just two days earlier, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent—twenty-eight year veteran of the military, family man, looking to the next phase of his life—run over along with a fellow soldier in Montreal by a man in a car? These are but two of the countless men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

On November 11th, we will stand together to remember those who have given their lives for the freedom, prosperity and democracy we enjoy.

They are our grandfathers, fathers, brothers, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, neighbours ... and heroes. Canada’s Veterans—their courage, service and sacrifices have kept us strong, proud and free.[1]

On November 11th, who will you remember?

     ~ Kate James


Veterans Day — A United States Perspective

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, flags decorating the graves of the fallen, a day off from school—these are some of the things we associate with Veterans Day. This November 11th let's add the real reason we remember this day. Wars are fought by people, individuals with names and families; men and women with beliefs so strong they are willing to stand up to keep them safe. Look at the names, put into your mind the identity of the brave men and women who stood in harm's way to ensure we, the living, the descendants, the future could live without fear.

Like the monument wall listing the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam, let us speak aloud the name of at least one person who served in the military, so you and I might live in a country where freedom is a right.

From the American Revolution to the current conflict in Afghanistan, let's work for that one thing that's on the lips of every parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, or aunt of a military man or woman—world peace.

     ~ Shirley Hailstock


Below you'll find testimonials from authors saluting our men and women in uniform.


Amy Vastine

On this Veterans Day, I would like to honor my grandparents who fought in WWII. My grandfather, Earl Sharpee, served as part of the Signal Corps in the US Air Force. My grandmother, Elaine Kuhn, served as an Army nurse in the 104th Evacuation Hospital. She travelled all over Europe, following General Patton's troops and taking care of wounded soldiers. Likewise, my other grandfather, Wilman Kuhn, served in the US Navy. He was a Radar Man, First Class on the USS Roe. I am so proud of their service to this country and for fighting for the good of all the world!


Earl Sharpee, Elaine Kuhn and Wilman Kuhn

Leigh Riker

On this Veterans Day I’d like to honor my uncles who served their country with such bravery during World War II: Earl (Army Air Corps), Roy (U.S. army medic in Burma), and Daniel (U.S. Navy). They all came home to lead long and productive lives. My father Robert, the only one of the four brothers who didn’t (couldn’t) go to war, made his contribution as a defense plant worker. My love and thanks to them all.

And also to my good friend Cliff Delzell who served in the Korean War. He was one of the first Navy Seals, who were then called Special Forces Navy Frogmen, involved in underwater demolitions. Sadly, as I was writing this, Cliff passed away on November 1st, 2014 at the age of 83. What a warrior—and kind gentleman—he was. Rest in peace now, Cliff.

Cliff Delzell

Loree Lough

As we walked the sidewalks of his neighborhood, my Italian grandfather told me stories: At eleven, he was gored by a bull; upon arriving at Ellis Island, a guard changed the spelling of his surname because “…too many that end with i done come through here already.” Despite the not-so-warm welcome, he immediately set out to become a citizen. Weeks later, he enlisted.

In France, his unit joined the Battle of the Argonne Forest, part of the final Allied offensive—one of the bloodiest campaigns of World War I and one of the largest in U.S. military history. Then, on a cold November day, 1918, Grandpa was wounded, along with hundreds of his comrades. One soldier would not have made it out alive if Grandpa hadn’t thrown him over one shoulder, carrying him for miles to the nearest medic tent. Days later, on November 11th, the men heard a beautiful word: Armistice. Home again, they went to work, started families, bought homes, and proudly flew Old Glory from porches and fence posts.

Frank Citerony taught me the meaning of patriotism, loyalty to family, the importance of integrity. He’s the man by whom I measure all heroes—those I’ve met since, and those I feature in every novel I write. I was barely a teen when we lost him, but memories of his courage lives on…in my heartfelt gratitude for every soldier who, like Grandpa, would sacrifice everything for the country he loved.

Frank Citerony







Muriel Jensen

My father, Mike Pacheco, was drafted into the Army in 1943 at 34 years old. Already going gray, he was called ‘Gramps’ by the young men in his unit. He was part of the 85th Custer Division involved in the liberation of Rome. He never talked about his service except to groan about the hills and the mud, but told me that you could control your way down a muddy hillside by stabbing the ground with your knife in one hand and your bayonet in the other. There was a time in a foxhole when he heard the whine of a falling bomb, then silence—meaning it was landing near him. It did—and was a dud! My mother told me about a mission to rescue an Austrian General from the Nazis. Dad was one of only a few who returned—with the General. I have his Bronze Star.

Mike and Jeannette Pacheco, Muriel, in her father's lap, and Muriel's sister, Lorraine

Kate James

During peacekeeping tours in Kuwait and Croatia, Master Corporal Mark 'Izzy' Isfeld, from British Columbia, worked clearing land mines in war-torn countries. While there, he also gave out little handmade dolls crocheted by his mother, Carol, to help calm frightened local children. Tragically, Mark lost his life in a land mine explosion in Croatia in 1994. Since his death, people across Canada have continued to make and donate "Izzy" dolls for Canadian soldiers to give to children. [2]

A sculpture of a peacekeeper handing an Izzy doll to a child has been erected in his memory. 

Mcpl Mark Isfeld


I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Mcpl Isfeld, but was fortunate to be able to be a small part of making the sculpture a reality and be present for the dedication ceremony. To read the touching poem his mother wrote in her son’s memory, please visit my blog.


Shirley Hailstock

I was born between wars. It doesn't matter which wars. For most of us, a war in which the U.S. military saw action was part of our lives. Many of us grew up to see our sons and daughters wear the uniform of a military service—some by choice, others by draft.

On the home front, mothers prayed and worried. During my war, Vietnam, I wrote letters. I call it mine because I personally knew some of the soldiers. Some came home. Some didn't. I found that sending letters to them allowed them to connect with a small part of normal. Like readers of our novels, the letters were an open window to another world, one they could connect with, understand, and return when the conflict ended.

The names I say out loud are Larry Miles, Paul Gilbert and Cornelius (Corny) Jones. One came home, two didn't. Thank you for protecting me.



Roz Denny Fox

When I met my husband he was a marine. He came home on leave to attend his sister’s wedding. We bonded, got married and moved to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. I soon learned that planes came before wives. LOL In later years I discovered that once a marine, always one. Which is fine. Military men and women are good folks. It’s like having extended family all over the world. We civilians can’t give those in uniform enough support. It’s great to remember them on this special Veterans Day, but let me stress that giving whatever a person can to the charities that help those who come home wounded or in need is about the best feel-good experience you can have all year long.

Semper Fidelis-Always Faithful



Liz Flaherty

Duane was twenty-one, with glasses and a smooth singing voice and fingertips callused from playing guitar. He drove a Chevy I loved, was built better than any guy I’d ever known (I was 19—this mattered), and made me laugh harder than I'd ever laughed in my life. When he walked away from my apartment without looking back, my heart broke. It was something a lot of us did in those wintery days of the late 60s—we sent our boyfriends off to Vietnam.

He came home 14 months later, and he wasn’t a boy anymore and it was a while before he laughed all that much. He'd seen and felt things that made him grow up quickly. We were married three months later. In the years since then, he talks little about those months. It was, he says, just what they all did—when their country called, they went.

I’m proud of him and of all of those with whom he served. Thank you, vets. Thank you so much.


Duane Flaherty

Melinda Curtis

Years ago, I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my step-mother, listening to the tapes my step-brother sent home while he served in the Vietnam war. He always tried to sound upbeat for his mother, and often included a song because he was a talented musician. I'm so glad he came home safely. Freedom doesn't come free and doesn't just affect the person serving. It's like dropping a rock into a pond. The ripples touch us all. Thank you to all our armed services. Here's a picture of Val and his latest album.



Who will you remember today? Please leave us a comment. 

[1] From the Veterans Affairs Canada Website


[2] From the Veterans Affairs Canada Website

21 comments:

  1. What a lovely post for veterans day. I enjoyed all the photos, especially Roz as a bride.

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  2. Thank you for your feedback on the post, Laura.

    I had the privilege of pulling the individual contributions together, and I loved seeing the pictures. Roz was a beautiful bride!

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    1. All of us are grateful to Kate for inviting us and assembling our contributions in such an honorable way! Yer a peach, Kate! Thank you!

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  3. What a beautiful tribute to our wonderful Veterans both in Canada and here in the US. Thank you authors for the touching contributions. Roz, you were a beautiful bride with your own hero. smile My family includes many veterans, father, uncle, brother, hubby, nieces and nephews. Thank you.

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    1. Sandra, I have immense gratitude for everyone in your family who has served.

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  4. Mel, I love your tribute, because it's so true that freedom isn't free. The people who know that and live by it are people we all want and need in our corner. Freedom is eroding in little bits. We all need to be concerned about that.

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  5. Such beautiful tributes by everyone. Thank you so much for bringing attention to so many who deserve it, and, sadly, often are forgotten. *fields full of poppies*

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  6. I've lived within a few hours of Mexico most of my life, but never understood the point of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) until seeing a simple explanation in that movie called The Book of Life: as long as you remember those who've died, they're still alive in your heart. Which makes today a lovely opportunity to keep our dear ones, AND those strangers who've sacrificed for us, alive.

    My late grandfather was a Marine, and my dad and husband are both Army veterans who view their service as "nothing special." I'D be bragging like crazy, but it seems like most service people are that same way...which makes them all the more heroic!

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    1. Beautifully put, Laurie. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  7. A lovely tribute. I’m remembering my Uncle Oscar who served in WW II at Iwo Jima. He was stationed there when his father died and his mother became sick. At no time could he leave, because it was his duty to guide the planes onto the airstrips. My grandmother died on August 14th, the day the war ended, and he was able to attend her funeral. I’ll never forget that handsome man in his army uniform, my first infatuation. Just about everyone in the family knew I was smitten with him. After he took off that uniform, though, he turned back into old Uncle Oscar.

    One of the transport ships he was on was torpedoed, and he was tossed into the ocean. A non-swimmer, he’d heard if you go down three times, you were a goner. He went down three times and woke in a hospital. I miss him and all his war stories. My hero.

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  8. I read the beautiful tributes with tears in my eyes. Right now I'm remembering my husband who fought in WWII, his cousin who fought in both WWII and the Korean War, boys I went to school with who didn't return from 'Nam. Thank you! Some I told before they died, others, the ones who went to Vietnam, I didn't. Then, I didn't dream they might not come home.

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    1. We thank them for their service, Patricia! And we thank all the people who waited at home, praying for their brave soldiers!

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  9. Oh.my.goodness. I forgot my dad who served as a Merchant Seaman in WWII. One of his ships was almost blown out from under him.

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  10. My dad was in World War 2 and according to those who knew him before he was never the same. My nephew was in the first group of marines to go in Desert Storm and it changed him somewhat too. My heart goes out to all who serve and those at home who love and wait for them to come home safely.

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  11. Well, done, Kate! And nice leads ins from you and Shirley. Aren't we all lucky to have known and loved such brave people? And, Roz - you're such a cutie.

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  12. My Uncle Charlie served in the Korean War. He was permanently injured during a grenade attack. He had a piece in his back, too close for surgery of that time to remove. He lived with the pain until he died as a result of that war.

    It was a pleasure to remember the men and women who served and are serving. I used to think it was trite that the Miss America candidates all said they wanted world peace. I thought it was just something to say. But I know now that wasn't true. And like them I do want WORLD PEACE.

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  13. Such a beautiful post, and wonderful tributes. My father was a paratrooper in the Korean era, but most of my family has been in the Navy. My great-uncle and his son, three of my brothers, and I were all in the USN. My uncle was a Marine. I never really realized service was a family tradition until last year when I was at a program where service members, current and past, were asked to stand to be recognized. I realized most of us would be standing. Thanks to all for their service and sacrifice and to family and friends who wait and worry and support.

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  14. I enjoyed reading the wonderful tributes to our Veterans. The photos were especially moving. It is definitely true that "a picture is worth a thousand words." I am truly amazed at the number of men and women who volunteer to keep us safe. Thank You!

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  15. Amazing stories, incredible courage. Thanks for blessing us!

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  16. Thank you so much for posting these beautiful tributes. Roz, you look amazing!
    Military service is also a huge tradition in my family, covering all branches of the services.
    My kids were off school for the holiday, and we walked over to the cupcake shop for a treat. As we were walking, I had a wave of gratitude wash over me. Because of those who have fought and continue to fight, my girls have just as much right to go to school as boys, and I am free to walk to the store without my husband. A small thing, perhaps, walking to buy pastry. Just feeling grateful that we enjoy freedoms that other women in some parts of the world can't.

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  17. Such beautiful tributes! My father was a 20 year Navy chief, my husband was in the Navy Sea Bees and served in Viet Nam, and my youngest son has been in the Army for the past 12 years. He's been in South Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. Volunteers all, these men in my life. I am so proud.

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