For Country and Family ... Not Self!
Note... After writing my article, I decided to create a video with my narration of what the article states along with more visuals to better illustrate all aspects. The video can be viewed below the article.
Many heroes from World War II and other wars, who survived to live and enjoy the blessed gifts going forward … including a loving marriage, children, and grandchildren ... remained silent to family members and others about their individual military endeavors and any medals won.
An untold number did so dealing with varying degrees of what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) … enduring, surviving this ongoing mental struggle … as they did during combat conditions ... with determination to enjoy the rest of their life experiences going forward.
In fact, I had the great honor, privilege of knowing a greatest generation one … my wife's father Raymond Casserly, Sr., who was very quiet about "his heroic" efforts during three wars ... World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War ... retiring a full colonel ... with many of his years in the U.S. Air Force Reserve that included being called to serve in Vietnam.
And while this quiet, caring religious father of 10 kids detailed in writing every one of the 35 bombing missions over Germany that the B-17 he navigated safely without loss of life and bomber ... he never referenced ... being awarded during these WWII bombing raids ... that statistically should have resulted in the bomber being severely damaged or lost with wounded and/or fallen crew members.
He did reference near fatal misses by penetrating bullets and explosive fragments without a scratch.
Then shortly after Ray Casserly was called to heaven after memorable 85 years with his loved ones ... I along with my wife and her siblings and spouses ... were informed by the youngest sibling that he discovered many medals in a small case when going through his dad's items.
He also informed us that one of his older brothers knew about the medals since he was around 10 years old, when his dad caught him looking at them in the closet that all the kids had been forbidden to access.
He was then instructed by his dad not to tell anyone what he found ... as the fallen and wounded were the ones who deserved the medals more than he did!
Well, all Ray Casserly kids, spouses (including me), and other family members had the honor and privilege of seeing his awarded medals that include the Distinguished Flying Cross and "four" Bronze Stars.
Moreover, my poem "Ray, A Great Man" that I wrote in honor of him and read at his funeral service ... is a subtle reminder ... for current and future American generations ... about being able to enjoy and express ... that would never have been ... if it wasn't for my father-in-law and other Americans' service to our beloved USA to keep HER the land of the free ... by each respective generation's brave ones actions for country's sake based on the foundational constitution.
And while reflecting on my father-in-law's decorated military service ... it stirred thoughts about another heart grabbing story of my mother waking up in the middle of the night a few weeks after the deadly, successful D-Day landing during World War II ... when she was 19 years old ... with the dreadful thought that her twin twin brother was killed ... which sadly was confirmed a short time later!
He was among the fallen when his squad was ambushed by a German machine gun nest in the hedgerows of Normandy, France. He was buried at the American cemetery in Normandy with fellow U.S. troops who paid the ultimate sacrifice too.
So, I understand the deep loss of a fallen loved one ... that my youngest son missed becoming when an AK47 bullet missed his head microscopically when he turned to the sound of earlier rounds being fired.
David G. Bancroft