Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Heroes

Yesterday, as I contemplated the day and the memory of those who have served and died, I started thinking of a special blessing God gave me last autumn.

My mother was the youngest of eight in her family, and three of her brothers served during WW II. The oldest was Art, and he served as a Marine for the second time when WW II started. Two brothers Bert and Bud also joined the Marines to go fight in the Pacific, although they were assigned different divisions.

Several years ago, my Uncle Bert was here visiting from Oklahoma for a family reunion. I asked him if he had any stories for the family historian (that's me). He thought about it, and then told me a fun one from when he was growing up. He couldn't think of any more and later returned home. Several days later I got a phone call from him, and he said that he had thought of a story, and would I like to hear about the Marines landing on Iwo Jima. Wow....would I ever! But, he wanted to tell me in person, so he said that we could sit down together when he next came to Oregon. But it was not to be, as he died of cancer about three months after that phone call. I felt so bad that I had never been able to get that story, and hear about what he went through.

That was in 2006.

Last fall, I went to a Memorial Service for my cousin Tom, the son of Uncle Bud. Bud had passed away in 1994. After the service I asked my Aunt Joan if she had any records of Bud's military service. She mentioned that they had a video the kids had made of Bud talking about his military years. I asked about viewing it, and after a brief search they pulled the video out of a pile. Our whole family sat down and watched Bud being interviewed by his three children. Bud was only 17 when he joined the Marines. He had never talked about his military years before (a common story) and he poured out a story of pain, suffering and glory as he revealed his Marine division's landing on Iwo Jima. Bert was landing with his division while Bud was landing with his division, one being further north on the coast. Both were injured, but survived. Bud made it 23 days before being evacuated to a hospital in Hawaii, after being shot in the back right shoulder. It was quite a story. God was so good to me, to give me the story in 2010 I had missed in 2006. Here are my heroes I am remembering today......

Bud (born Woodrow) Erskine


Bert (born Bernell) Erskine

Art (born Archie Robert) Erskine

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