Adam was pretty disappointed that he couldn't go to school yesterday. He kept asking me why there was no school, and I tried my best to explain to him that it was a special day to honor those people who had fought for our country. It was hard to explain, because we live in a country that that has not seen war on our shores for hundreds of years. Yes, our military men and women are serving in places of war in other countries across the world, but a 5 year old (at least my 5 year old) doesn't get that. How do you explain war to a 5 year old who has no concept of it? I must have told him something that made sense, because he walked away and played with his bakugons. Since our conversation, I've been thinking a lot about all those men and women who have served and are still serving our country. I went and pulled out a couple of pictures that I was given several years ago of my grandfather. He served on the USS LST 295 during World War 2. I don't really know that much about it, except that he drove a landing vehicle onto the beaches of Normandy in 1944. I remember several years ago when we were all visiting for his 80th birthday, we somehow got him taking about his service during the war. He was always hesitant to talk about it, and I'm not sure how we got him started at that time. I wish that we had tape recorded it or something. I don't remember much of what he said.
This is a picture of the crew of the ship he was on. My grandpa is the guy with the number 1 on his chest. The captain of the ship is number 2.
This is a picture of the ship in May of 1945. The caption at the bottom says "USS LST 295 landing on St. Aubin Bay Beach, Jersey Island, in early May 1945 with German POW's waiting to embark. A total of 22,195 prisoners were removed form the islands Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, and Sark, 9,838 alone from Jersey. There remained approximately 3,300 left to do clearing up work. 'Operation Nestegg' as it was called."
I found the following information on the internet about the ship that he served on:
LST-1 Class Tank Landing Ship:
• Laid down, 19 October 1943, at American Bridge Co., Ambridge, PA.
• Launched, 24 December 1943
• Commissioned USS LST-295, 7 February 1944
• During World War II LST-295 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the:
• Invasion of Normandy, June 1944
• LST-295 earned one battle star for World War II service
I can't imagine what my grandfather saw during his service in World War 2. I am deeply grateful to him and to all the men and women who have served our country so that I am able to raise my boys with the freedoms that we enjoy. So that Adam can go to school, we can worship in the way we choose, we have basic necessities of life, and in fact we live a very comfortable life.
I need to teach my boys about the sacrifices that have been made. I know Adam missed going to school yesterday, but I'm glad he was home and that he made me think about why he was home. Why we enjoy the things that we do.
Thank you Grandpa! Thank you to all those who fought beside him, before and after!