As I was reminded on facebook this morning, Memorial Day is for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. My husband and two brothers came home from World War II. They would be and were quick to pay tribute to those who did not come back home from World War II or other wars!
Four of my school friends were killed in WWII: May God bless their memory on this Memorial Day 2012 and may we continue to recognize their sacrifice made in 1943 and 1944: James Homer Cook was an airplane pilot whose airplane was shot down in the South Pacific on March 17, 1944.
Quinton " Red "Cole was killed fighting the enemy in Italy on March 9, 1944. Carroll Adams was killed in Frances July 27, 1944.J.W, Rye was gave his life in Africa on January 21, 1943.
Charles Shaw and I married as teens. World War II forced us and many of our friends to grow up a little! Jumping ahead of that long story, we continued to love one another and thought our children were so special.
Charles Columbus Shaw (named for his two grandfathers, Charles Reuben Wilkerson and Columbus Turner Shaw) was a good man, husband and father. He and most of the men and boys of our generation signed up for service soon after the draft started.
After coming home from service in the South Pacific, Charles became a dedicated pastor and gifted preacher, Charles preached his last sermon the Sunday after Thanksgiving 1986 at Rico United Methodist Church In Palmetto Georgia on the first Sunday of Advent and had his final heart attack three days later on December 3. 1986.
In thinking back, Charles had a lot of leadership skills. When he was inducted at Fort Mac, they gave him the choice of what branch of service he wanted to serve in. He chose the Marines. He was put "in charge" of a group that was traveling together to the Marine base in San Diego, California. His later service was in the South Pacific until the end of the war in 1945. He told us the medals he wore in the uniform below were not for meritorious service but were given to all who survived the rigors of boot camp.
Charles, like most Marines, as the Marine hymn states, was “proud to be member of the United States Marines.” He served in the Marine Corps - Semper Fidelis - in World War II in the South Pacific. “Always faithful“ was more than a motto to him and to his buddies and also to the wives and widows of these men who do not question that they were indeed the “greatest generation.”
When he was in the Marine Corps, he wrote a letter nearly every day. The 15 months he was overseas he wrote as often as possible...sometimes several times a week. We were both letter writers. ( I wrote to him everyday ). I am sorry we did not keep the letters.
When Charles was a teenager, he would often write the "love letters" for many of his buddies. Writing letters was a common way of communicating then. He wrote me a letter every week while we were dating. I wish I had kept the one he wrote telling me how much he liked the biscuits I had made. My friend Julia insisted that Charles must eat one of the biscuits I had made earlier. I apologized for Julia making him eat one of my biscuits. As soon as he got home that Sunday evening he wrote how much he liked the biscuit then added, "I would eat anything to be near you." I finally did learn to cook and he did "eat anything I cooked. "
But, as you know, Charles was a wonderfully good and "tender hearted" man. And a worker! He delivered newspapers as a young boy. Later he had a dry cleaning route where he went around from house to house and collected clothes his customers wanted cleaned, took them to the Dry Cleaner in Conyers. Later in the week he went back to Conyers to get the cleaned clothes. He delivered them and collected the payments. He made only a pittance but every little bit helped.
Your questions have started me thinking about WHY we did not keep his Marine stuff together. It was not a time when one thought about family history as much as we do now. Mainly we did not think of family history because there was not as much leisure time then as now.
We led such a busy life with his taking advantage of the Veterans' Bill of Rights to go back to school and finish college and then going for 3 years more of Seminary and such busy pastorates which he continued with enthusiasm and talent even after two heart attacks and bypass surgery and until death.