Tuesday, May 26, 2009

memorial day

I have officially moved into my living arrangements in Colorado Springs! This Memorial Day weekend certainly has been memorable in the sense of the adventures of moving. While I was driving across Eastern Colorado, my passenger windshield wiper blade decided to take a flying leap, literally. I drove from the Kansas/Colorado border to Colorado Springs with 1 wiper blade in scattered showers and downpours. Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. The Air Force Thunderbirds have been practicing outside today for the upcoming Air Force Academy graduation. Amazing how sound travels slower than the planes. By the time you hear the noise, the planes are past you already. Yesterday, we had people over for Memorial Day. We started talking about how this federal holiday was designed to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty protecting our freedoms. So easily we forget the price paid by many to live in the comfort and peace that we have in this country. Here is just an excerpt from an email my Dad sent me when I was getting ready to go to Hawaii and see the USS Arizona Memorial. You see, my great uncle Bill Curry was killed in the boiler room of the Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Just to help you understand what my Dad is initially talking about, I had asked a question about the stars that military families hang in their windows, knowing that the blue is for those deployed, but remembering that there were other colors too:

The stars system was blue stars on a flag were for those in service and gold stars were for those killed or missing in action. Your great-grandmother Curry had 2 flags in her window in Lexington, MO, with at one point 5 blue stars and 2 gold stars. (The famous Sullivan family of Waterloo, IA, had 5 gold stars and 1 blue star for the 5 brothers lost on the USS Atlanta off Guadalcanal and a sister who served in the Navy later in the war.) The blue stars were for Grandpa Curry, great uncle Charlie, great uncle Byron, great uncle Nate and great aunt Laura - all who served in the Navy. Your great aunt Laura was a navy reserve nurse serving in a hospital in New York. The gold stars were for great uncle Bill and great uncle Bob.

Your great uncle Bob was captured on 23 December 1941 when Wake Island fell to the Japanese and spent the rest of the war in prison camps until liberated in August 1945. When he was captured, he weighed 190 pounds and when he was liberated he weighted 98 pounds. When asked why he didn't try to escape, he said that at 6-2 with blonde hair and blue eyes he was not going to blend into the population in China or Japan (the places he was held captive).
When you visit the WWI Memorial, remember that your great-great uncle Roy Curry (for whom Grandpa Curry was named) served in the 35th Division (Missour-Kansas)in France during World War I. He was wounded with shrapnel in the leg in the Meuse-Argonne battle in 1918. While waiting at the aid station to be treated, the Germans fired poisonous mustard gas on the station. He walked with a limp and wheezed from the lung damage for the rest of his life. He died in 1964 and is buried right in front of Grandpa and Grandma Curry.

So if you ever wonder why the American Legion Post at Parnell, Mo, is named the Curry-Richardson-Sparks & Wahldier Post, our family has paid the price to be so honored. Great-great uncle Roy was a charter member of the post and it has become a point of honor that all of the Currys who have served have joined the post. Currently, your great uncle Nate, my first cousin Robert Curry (who served in the Navy during Vietnam) and I are all members of the post.

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