Memorial Day Gratitude

Photos, letters and a flag from my Great Uncles who served in World War 2.

Photos, letters, money and a flag from my Great Uncles who served in World War 2.

I have been helping to clear out my Aunt Del’s house for the past month or so since she passed away earlier this year and have been amazed at the sheer amount of history and mementos of major life events that they had saved. My family didn’t like to talk with us kiddos too much about the sad events of life, so I now find myself pouring over these photos and letters, piecing the stories together. I found a plastic bag filled with letters, postcards and a folded burial flag in a trunk (actually it was THE trunk my ancestors brought their belongings over in from Italy in) that was upstairs in my Aunt’s apartment. When I found the bag and realized what was in it, I decided to put them all aside until today, Memorial Day 2015, to read through them.

Photos of and from my Uncle Paul

Photos of and from my Uncle Paul. The Christmas photo printing is etched into the actual photo. Amazing. I also love that he sent home photos of his attendance at mass and confession.

The majority of the letters are from Uncle Paul. Every letter he wrote started off with ‘I’m ok.’ and ‘Try not to worry too much’. In a tradition that carries through my family to this day, he almost always mentions the food and talks about exactly what he ate that day. In one letter he writes about pancakes and having a ‘pretty good steak for dinner that wasn’t too tough’.

I was especially touched by his postcards. In the postcard he sent at Christmas he mentions that he hopes he will be home to spend the next Christmas with them.

He mentioned he doesn’t know what the words say in the above left illustrated postcard from Italy but that his Mom would be able to read it. The postcard on the right is from Sicily and the lower postcard mentions how he hopes they will be together the following Christmas.

I found this photo of Uncle Louis- who sadly, I never met, with the burial flag. Sadly there was some kind of paper over the photo- maybe a zerox? Over the years it most likely heated up and stuck to the original photo.

I found this photo of Uncle Louis- who sadly, I never met, with the burial flag. He died while serving in the Navy. Sadly there was some kind of paper over the photo in the envelope it was in- maybe a zerox or carbon paper? Over the years it most likely heated up and stuck to the original photo.

Its incredible to me how the brave Men and Women in our armed forces put their lives on the line every day for us and dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our country. Their families should be commended for their bravery as well. Reading and reflecting on these letters made that fact so much more personal for me. Today is not the only day we are grateful, but on Memorial Day we honor you with a special and profound Thank You. Xo Dani