Monday, January 14, 2008

Two Eulogies

January 10 saw the near simultaneous passing of two of our older church members and I was given the privilege of delivering their eulogies. His funeral was on Saturday. Her funeral was today. He was born in 1911 and she was born in 1918. He was physically feeble and had to move about 100 miles away to live with his son a couple of years ago. She was cognitively feeble and living in the alzheimers wing of a local facility.

Each were married and had families in the depression years. When our country entered World War II each found ways to serve in the war effort.

He entered the armed forces in 1943 as a 32 year old husband and father to train in Florida and be deployed to the Phillipines to prepare for the coming invasion of the Japanese homeland. His unit was slated to be part of the diversionary amphibious attack out of the Sea of Japan on the western coast of the country. They were preparing this army to accept massive casualties ... beyond imagination casualties ... in an effort to distract the Japanese forces from the primary assault elsewhere. He suffered burns from a fuel explosion and spent time in a large quonset "hospital" with 100 other injured and sick men who were being tended by one physician and two nurses. They used maggots to debreed his wounds. He healed some and was kept in theatre because they needed every man possible for the invasion. He credited Harry Truman with saving his life by dropping the atomic bomb.

She began what would turn out to be a lifetime of volunteer work. She and her children would tour the streets of town collecting scrap metal ... everything from old kitchen pots to bobby pins. She also rolled bandages at the local hospital throughout the war. That volunteer work at the hospital turned into 50 years of service there as a charter member of the hospital's auxiliary ... the pink ladies ... again touring about but this time in a hospital seeing to the needs of others.

The two eulogies have impressed on me more now than ever before that there once existed something that was the antithesis of the "Me Generation." Would to God that someday their legacy would be reborn.

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