Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Have You Forgotten?

Grandpa Poole with Baby Ryan

I am ashamed to say that I forgot it was Veterans Day today. I was driving through McDonalds and KBULL 93 was playing their tribute to our troops. I have to hand it to country radio--they always come through on the patriotic holidays. Anywho, I immediately thought of my own hero, my Grandpa Poole.

He served in World World II, where he was captured by the Japanese and forced on the Bataan Death March. He then spent 3 1/2 years in a prison camp. 3 1/2 years! He was starved, mistreated and nearly died. I have always marveled at how he got through it. He says it was his faith in God, his love of this country and the knowledge that his mother was praying for him.

Today I have been thinking about his mother. For much of that time, she didn't know where he was or if he was even alive. She had five daughters but he was her only son. I can't even bear to think of sending one of my precious son to war.

To this day, my grandpa does not get emotional talking about the war or the way he suffered. He does get emotional talking about seeing his mother for the first time after the war. When he flew home, all of the troops' families were out on the tarmac waiting for the plane to come to a stop. When my grandpa came down the stairs onto the runway, his mother saw him for the first time in 5 1/2 years. She couldn't wait another minute to embrace him. She broke through the crowd control barriers and ran to him. She grabbed him and just clung to him.

Our country is going through some rough times right now. It seems all I ever hear about is how bad the economy is and all of the problems with the United States. But I just want to say how much I love our country and how grateful I am for our freedom--even our freedom to complain. I'm grateful for all the mothers throughout the history of this country who sent children to war, especially for the mothers whose children never returned home. Today is their day too.


Nikole said...

Great post, Brooke. Can you even imagine sending a child off to war? Horrible stuff for a mother. Your Grandpa is a hero. Love your blog, by the way!

Alexandra said...

I loved this post. Your Grandpa sounds amazing. It is interesting, too, how being a mom changes your perspective on everything. Not to make light, but I have started to feel that my kids' birthdays are my special days, too! :)

Liz said...

I love Uncle Harold! He is one of those people I think of when I can't imagine going on another day. His book really amazed me. He's so cool about it...never dwelt on it. Amazing!

Jacqui said...


Marni said...

Wow. That was so great. That is something great to keep for your kids to always know.

Linda said...

Great post, Brooke - well written. I got a little choked up reading it. (And I've heard it a time or two!)
His story has been made into a book, "Soldier Slaves" and now a documentary. It is going to be premiered in the Palm Springs Film Festival in January. I've seen it, and it's wonderful.
Thanks for reminding us about our veterans on Veteran's Day, and how we must treasure our freedom. It came at a dear cost - all those mothers!
(if anyone wants a copy of the book - let me know)

Ashley said...

I had never really thought of Grandpa's story from his mom's perspective--that is horribly sad. I agree with Liz that whenever I find myself thinking "I have it so bad" (usually for some lame reason like I'm in charge of a church party), I think of Grandpa and my outlook changes immediately. That is a great picture of him and Ryan. He adores the great-grandkids, and it's a miracle he's around to see them.

Sam said...

Harold and all veterans are true heroes. It is hard, if not impossible, to really appreciate what they went through.

Nov. 11th is a big holiday in France/Belgium. It is a celebration of the end of World War I. One year, I was able to visit an American Cemetery in Belgium on Nov. 11th, and it was one of the most memorable/humbling experiences of my life. I believe over 20 million died in World War I.

President Monson often quotes "In Flanders Field" when discussing the sacrifices of war and the debt we owe to those who died. I think it is worth reading on Veterans Day. Here's the link:


lindsey said...

What a great post. Your Grandpa is a hero, and such a nice man.

It was Remembrance Day here in Scotland as well. The article that Sam referenced was great--everyone wore poppied to church on Sunday and at 11 we stopped for two minutes of silence. They did the same in schools throughout the country today. It was really neat to see these bright poppies on the dark suits of the men on Sunday. I'm so sad I forgot my camera.

Amy said...

I love Grandpa Poole. He is one of the most special people I know. I new his story, but never thought of it from his mother's point of view. I would love to have a copy of his book!

Sarah said...

What a wonderful story...I cannot learn enough about this generation and love to absorb each individual experience. I will watch for "Soldier Slaves". Such amazing men...who deserve all of our thanks and adoration roday and every day.

Lauri said...

Brooke..I loved your story about your Grandpa. What a true hero he is! Tom served in the military for 22 years. He was in Beirut, Lebanon when the Marine Barracks were bombed, flying a helicopter mission and just escaped being shot down. Thank goodness he survived! I can't imagine the sacrifice that so many men and women have given in behalf of our country. Last February we were in Seaworld, and they had a beautiful tribute to all the Armed Forces, past and present. They asked all the service members and their families to stand, which Tom, the girls and I did...it was so touching and naturally, made me cry, but how proud I was of all those special Americans and most importantly, my husband whom I was standing next to, who proudly served his country with honor. Thanks for making mention of Veteran's Day. You're a HERO to me! Love ya!!