November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

This Veterans Day, we remember all of our military past and present especially those who fought two wars to keep us all free from terrorists who harm the innocent and resent the freedoms we enjoy.  These numbers might need to be updated but I recall that 6,717 men and women in the U.S. military have died since the wars began in Iraq and Afghanistan; 50,987 wounded - this does not even account for the military from other countries who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that their loved ones and the citizens of their countries might live free.    Today, we remember them all and we are grateful as individuals, as Americans and as citizens of the world!  My father, George Charles LeBlanc knew something about fighting for our freedoms that we have long enjoyed.  The photo above captures him in his World War I uniform.  He fought with Yankee Division.  It was said at the time that World War I was the war to end all wars.  How wonderful if that had been true.  It was a war that incurred many deaths and a great many wounded.

Members of the Yankee Division were cast into the worse of the battles. 
Activated and Inducted into Federal Service: July 1917 (National Guard Division from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont).

Overseas:  October 1917.

Major Operations:
Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne
  • Days of combat: 210
  • Casualties: Total-13,664
  • Killed in action:  1,587
  • Wounded in action:  12,077
Inactivated, and returned to National Guard service:  May 1919
The Yankee Division was re-activated in World War II and continues as a viable part of the military today.

As an aside, one day while searching for information regarding the 26th Yankee Division, I came across a photo on E-bay that was for sale by Zazzle.  Zazzle has purchased many photos from the National Archives and have made "reasonable" sizes of the photos available for purchase.  I say "reasonable" because an inquiry I made to the National Archives informed me that 1. the originals photos as huge landscape size photos and 2. very expensive if purchased from the archives.

Zazzle had two sizes of the photo I wanted.  The photo is of the final review at Fort Devens, Massachusetts before the Yankee Division was inactivated after World War I.  It is a great photo and I know that my Dad is "somewhere" among all of the military on the parade grounds for the last time.

I decided to inquire as to whether the company might have a photo of the company my Dad was part of - they did not but they purchased it from the National Archives and a few months later I was able to purchase a copy from Zazzle.  Amazingly, what could have cost me in the hundreds of dollars from the National Archives cost me only $25 and $35 respectively in a much more manageable size that I framed and that hang on the wall in this, my work space or home office as some might call it.  Next to those two photos is the photo of my Dad in his World War I uniform encased in a frame that also holds his Victory Medal with clasps or bars described as follows:   "
battle clasps were awarded for each of the major operations for individuals actually present under competent orders. The clasps, with a star on each side of the name of the campaign or one of the defensive sectors, were worn on the suspension ribbon."

To the right is what the WWI Victory Medal looks like.  I was able to find this on the Internet - my father's medal has four clasps representing the four battles he fought in.  I treasure the fact that my mother kept my father's enlistment and discharge papers, including his medal, safely among her treasured items.

[ I sometimes see these things on E-bay and people just do not realize the history they've given away.  Some of these items can never again be retrieved in any way.  A few years ago I tried to obtain new copies of my father's papers.  There had been a fire some years ago where the military records were housed.  My father's papers were among those lost in that fire.  So had my mother not kept these I would never have known my father's military history.]

World War I sources:  Wikipedia, Free pages military on, Zazzle Company
Patriotic holidays bring back great memories of when I was growing up.  As children, we would be playing out in the yard and suddenly we would hear the drum and bugle corps coming up the street.  Yup, a parade!  It just seems to me that everyone was so patriotic back then.  We didn't need a war to bind us together and to be proud of who we were.  I was so impressed with my family's patriotism that I have always been very patriotic as has been my husband and his family.

Family cookouts were great but if we had not been celebrating something American, we would not have been gathering to remember.  I hope every child grows up knowing what it is to be bound together with the pride of being American.

No matter our country, we should always remember the brave men and women who fought that we might all be free - and... don't forget to thank a Veteran for his or her service!

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Lucie's Legacy

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino