Sunday, November 11, 2018

Children of Soldiers

That's me on the left and my playmate beside me. 

We were at the seventh base our fathers had been sent to during their Air Force training, this time in Columbus, Ohio where they both were in Transition School, from training planes to combat planes, the B-17. 

I've written in other years of blogging on Veteran's Day about my father's training and his brothers' service and once wrote about a woman veteran [here], but today I'm thinking about the children of soldiers and the spouses and partners of soldiers. 

I was too young to remember any of my father's days in WW II but I grew up hearing stories of this time and the wonderful families Mama and I stayed with near the bases, waiting for our Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon time with Daddy. 

In Columbus, Ohio Mama and I both found a friend, another Air Force wife who was married to an American pilot of Japanese family, and their daughter.

I don't remember many of Mama's stories about my little friend and her mother, only that they were both young and in love with their husbands and looked forward to the weekend when the men were free to be with their families. 

Between that time the two women watched us play together but I can only imagine the conversations they shared, these two young mothers, far away from their own mothers and families.

My friend Tammy talks often about her beloved nephew who serves in the Air Force and his wife and their two sons who are growing up seeing their father deployed. I won't share her personal stories of them here but this family is just one of the thousands who sacrifice time with their loved ones in service to our country.

I don't even remember the name of my playmate. I wish so much I had written down more of my parents' stories. But when I look at her photo I hope she had a lifetime of growing up with her father, just as I did. 

And today I'm thinking of the children of soldiers, hoping for the same thing for them.

Are you a child of a soldier, of a veteran? If you are, it would make me so happy to have you write about him or her here. 


  1. Good morning, Dewena. I am the youngest of 9 children of a WWII veteran. My oldest sisters were war babies - '43, '44, '45. My dad served in the army and lost his leg as a result of mortar shell explosion, but lived until 1985. My mother was a saint, in our opinion. Our parents didn't talk about the war, but we have letters my father wrote to my mother during, and medical notes written about my father's grave injury. What we know as PTSD today is certainly something my father suffered silently through, all the while we enjoyed a very good family life together. To all the brave soldiers, veterans, and their families - I thank them all.

  2. Oh Dewena - those memories are so alive in your mind - don't they become more precious the older you get! I find myself going back over my childhood, calling to mind things that happened during the early 40's and since. I was born in 1939, with two brother after me, the youngest a baby when my father enlisted in the Navy Sea Bees. I don't think my mother ever quite forgave him for that as she was left with us in an upstairs 4 room apartment with only a cold water faucet at the kitchen sink and a commode in a closet space off her bedroom. Kitchen and living room were heated with a kerosene kitchen range. She had a difficult time, lived frugally, fed and clothed us, and had a nice nest egg saved by the time he was discharged after 2 years, 2 months, and two days. He served in the South Pacific doing repair/construction/maintenance work and didn't see any fighting. Mom saved all his letters. He saved only the letters she sent him before he went overseas. All those letters, written every day, are here with me now. She'd have us kiss the letters, then draw circles around the kisses - my memory is accurate as I have the letters to prove it! We were so very, very blessed that our father came home intact when so many, many others didn't and so many gave their lives. Those war years are so vivid in my memories. Young people today have no idea what it was like then. And still the madness goes on with no end in sight for this generation today. It's heartbreaking that after all these years there still is no peace on earth. Let's not lose hope, and may God bless us, every one!

  3. Dewena, I am not a child of a solder or have military in my family. However, I spent 32 years in the Norfolk, Va. area, which you know is a huge military town. I worked with many wives of military men and my husband and I have dear friends who were military. Being the school system, I saw first hand how difficult moves and deployments were on the children. Although, they always seemed to band together and support one another. We also saw first hand tragedy of a loss of a dear friend who was a Navy jet pilot. I honor and think of these braves souls every time I see anything connected with our military. I pray that every one of us will remain forever grateful to our veterans and those serving today for theirs and their families sacrifices.

  4. Hi Dewena,
    My dad served in the Korean War as a pilot on the emergency helicopters. He was one that would fly in to get the wounded soldier out of harms way and to the base hospitals. Like the the show MASH. I still to this day can remember stories of him and how things were in that war. Happy Veterans day to all of those that served and are now serving to keep our freedom.

  5. what a beautiful tribute Dewena. and the pictures are timeless. the 'constant goodbyes' with that kind of life makes its own kind of strength. one of the favorite stories my mother used to tell was when my dad first came back after Normandy. and he was finally a civilian again. he and my mother were walking on a street and a car backfired. he had her slapped to the pavement before she even knew what had happened! she and I actually laughed about it when she told me. but she was furious with him that day! she was so young. and he had ruined her best pair of silk stockings! now we understand that kind of reaction.
    at the time nobody was really talking in terms of post traumatic stress syndrome. from just spending years of taking cover at the loud sounds of bombs and guns. we have no idea.
    and how anyone endured then and endures now what they all do and then comes back to a normal everyday life until their next deployment is simply incredible to me. I join in the thanks for their lives of service every day. xo

  6. Dewena, I love the photos and hearing about your childhood. My father was in the military before I was born. He had a few stories to tell, but not many. Edward's grandfather was a pilot and Edward's mom loves sharing those stories with us...I could sit for hours and listen to them! So interesting. She has all of the love letters he wrote to her grandmother while he was overseas and she will eventually split them up between us girls...such treasures! Love and hugs!

  7. This is such a wonderful post Dewena. The photos of you as a child with your adorable friend are priceless. You have so many rich memories, and they’re planted vividly in your mind and I think grow stronger with each passing year.

    My father, like Kris’s, picked up the wounded, although it was WW II, and like so many men before and after, spoke little of what it was like. As children we had no clue what these men went through. I suppose we still don’t really.


  8. Dewena, these photos are just priceless. I just love seeing pictures from this era. My father was in the Air Force during the Korean War, but that was before he and Mom were married. All of my uncles, my grandpa, and my brother served in the Navy or Army. My cousin's daughter is out on a Navy ship right now, and has posted photos of both of her grandfathers -- both Navy vets -- in her locker. I know they would be proud of her, if not a bit surprised to see a woman on a ship;)

  9. My dad was a tail gunner in WWII, in B-17s. He rarely spoke about his experiences with us, but I know from my mom that he was shot down several times and set a lot of time in Greenland. I'm curious about his service and I found myself investigating online today...btw, adorable picture!!

  10. A beautiful tribute to your father and all the men and women who served and risked their lives, for their country's freedom!

    Dewena, you are adorable, with your signature curls and sweet, friendly smile. Your description of how all the army wives waited patiently all week, to spend a few, precious days with their soldier husbands, really made me feel the love and devotion these men and women had for each other.

    The photo of your father in uniform must be such a treasured piece of your family's history. Thank you for sharing.


  11. I meant to say the your little Japanese-American friend's father probably enlisted in spite of the fact that all Japanese were rounded up and kept in internment camps until after the war - one of our greatest shames as a Democratic country. Wouldn't it be wonderful for you to reconnect with her!

  12. My dad was in the army in the early 60's, he was stationed in Texas, and he was an MP. He's in my heart on this Veteran's Day, as he is every day. I miss him every second.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I spent this Veteran's day weekend touring the WWII National Museum in New Orleans. It is amazing and the movie with tom Hanks as the narrator should be required for everyone to see.

  14. What a lovely idea to talk about the families of the men in the armed forces. The sacrifices they also made should never be forgotten. What a sweet photo of you and your little playmate.

  15. WWII combat veterans populated the Serengeti of my childhood. Lions all. Some Korea, a few Vietnam. All were either pilots or NASA engineers. My best friend's parents met during WWII amidst a bombing raid in England. Her mom, English, literally tripped & fell into a stranger's arms, an American soldier, soon to be her husband and father of their 4 children. Have always loved that story. Long marriage, he died of cancer in his 70's, and they had time to take a last RV camping trip along the East coast. Romantic to the end.

    Many of the astronaut wives had it horrible with their husbands, paying their dues with having children, being military wives, then poof too many of those early astronauts divorced, leaving wives/children, my neighbors/classmates/mom's friends, up went for-sale signs. Yes, what children experience as normal from what becomes world wide history, quite different than how adults see/experience same history.

    I'm still stealth on the serengeti, invisible as needed or like the fox as needed. Lions of childhood bit, hard.

    Oddly, my dad went into Air Force, test pilot, stayed in thru reserves till retirement along with NASA till retirement, never called to combat duty, never hid from it. His yearly active duty was mostly in Fort Walton Beach, FL, and our wonderful 2 week vacations for almost 2 decades.

    Original NASA engineers, now dying, reading their obituaries beyond amazing. Even the NASA cpa's back during Gemini/Mercury/Apollo had military backgrounds with flight training too. Crazy amazing.

    Still in awe of those men in my neighborhood during the 60's-70's. Combat veterans, yet going further, literally, to the moon. What lives those men created, for themselves.....and the world.

    Of course you are that CUTE little girl. Was your hair the smelly perm with the huge contraption over your head? Glad to have been born after that 'trend'.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  16. i enjoyed your post and i swear that could be my and my sister in those photos - that era no other. i enjoyed Tara's post too.

  17. A most beautiful tribute Dewena.
    The photographs you've shared are wonderful to see.

    I've also enjoyed reading through the comments above, and would thank everyone for taking time to share their thoughts and stories for us all to read.

    Blessings to all.

    All the best Jan

  18. What a cutie! I love those pictures :)

    My dad is a Vietnam vet. He doesn't talk about his part in the war much, except the horrible reception the soldiers got when coming home. It's the one time in our history that I can say I was ashamed of our country for spitting on those kids.

    Meh... sorry about that. It was a lovely post, my dear friend :)


  19. I'm arriving late to your "party".
    Yes, my dad was in WWII, The Big One, as he called it.
    He didn't talk much about the war, but he entertained us with stories about life at that time. His friends, what they did during off times. But we loved his story about arriving home.

    We recorded him telling us some of his stories. They are treasured!

  20. I'm just catching up on some blog reading, so I'm late to respond. My dad was a WWII veteran. He served from 1944-1946 in the Philippines, from 18-20 years old, well before he was married. He was a Private First Class, in the Light Tanks Division; a recipient of the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and in 2015, the Distinguished Service Medal. He didn't talk much about the war. He lived his last four years in a Veteran's Home, and had a military funeral. Our debt to all veterans and those currently serving is immeasurable.

  21. What a lovely trip down memory lane, dear Dewena. And such sweet photos to go with it. My grandfather fought in WWII. He joined the British army and fought in Egypt and Greece. His unit was captured, put in a prisoner of war camp, and managed to escape. He came home safely but never liked to speak of his experiences.

  22. Dewena, what a thoughtful, beautifully written post. We have so much to be thankful for to our armed forces and their families. I loved reading this post and your story about the adorable "little you." Xo Lidy

  23. Hello darling Dewena! How important are our memories of childhood. Our fathers, mothers, uncles and aunts, all the people who served in some capacity. As a child, I had always wanted my father to be a veteran, but since he was an immigrant and came to this country then had my sister during the depression, he was not eligible to serve. But, he paid his dues in other ways. The memories that shaped us into who we are will stay for us forever. Thank you so much for coming to visit my blog post!

  24. What beautiful memories, Dewena. My father was never a soldier, but my uncle served in the Navy and my great-uncle served in WW2. He got shot in the butt and so was honorably discharged after that. I always thought story about him being shot in the butt was so funny when I was a kid. My husband was in the Army Reserves when I met him.

  25. A beautiful post! We have just returned from attending Sam's graduation at Fort Jackson, South Carolina for Basic. He is now doing his AIT at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
    After 10 weeks of no communication, this visit was so very special. To get to South Carolina we had to travel through your Tennessee. I can see why you love it so, it is beautiful.
    Love, Carla