Its another beautiful day in the Chicago area. I have spent part of the morning on my deck enjoying the sun and talking to my squirrels who came by for their peanuts. I did some thinking about Veterans Day and what it all means. Today, a family just to the south in Plainfield will bury their young son in the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. He died in Afganistan. My prayers for them.
I read some from The Price of Honor, The World War One, Letters of Naval Aviator, Kenneth MacLeish. It is a love story of 200 letters between Kenneth MacLeish and Priscilla Murdock. Both are now gone, but somewhere there is a daughter and perhaps grandchildren. Kenneth is buried in Flanders Field. Not sure about Priscilla. It’s a story that often settles on my mind.
I also thought about Don Penn. He flew a P-38 fighter in World War II. He survived and flew for American Airlines after the war. He died at the Scottish Home and I had the privilege of knowing him and saying a few words at his memorial service, also at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. He was large man with big hands and a smile and laugh to compliment his size. His casket flag is in the Scottish American Museum.
The Scotsman Newspaper today published an interesting story from World War II. As the Gordon Highlanders were being forced to retreat to Dunkirk, A young soldier buried the regimental side drum in a farmer’s field. He probably thought they would not survive and this would keep the drum from the enemy. Within a few hours a policeman on his way home from the village of Hem stumbled across the hiding place. He planned to give the drum to his grandson, but because of German soldiers, the drum was hidden again at his daughters home. It lay forgetton for another 50 years. The daughter, Ms. Boulet, died and the family came to clean out the home. In a closet, buried under a stack of old clothes the drum was found. It was actually discovered by the grandson who was to get the drum in 1940 as a birthday present.
Tomorrow, the side drum, “emblazoned with the battle honours of the Gordon Highlanders” will be returned to Aberdeen, Scotland. It will proudly be displayed in the Gordon Highlanders museum.
My thanks and appreciation to all who have served.