They have told of how this Marine Corps Corporal not only became a military hero, but after war service, he became a hero again, and again, and again. This for his life long journey in recognition of not only the medaled, but for those who did not come home from war.
And yet further, those left behind on the home front that were then destined to a lifetime of loss and emptiness when their brother or sister, mother or father or child, distant relative, neighbour or other loved one could no more live and share a life of hopes and dreams.
The blogs brought forth some of the tragedies that led others to move on, with the creation of the blue, silver and gold banner programs, and the powerful Gold Cross network of families.
If you missed these I would encourage you to go back to them and read of these important events in US history.
Here's a picture that everyone should recognize, put sadly I suspect too many do not. Can you tell me what it is???
It is of course at the WWll National Memorial. You might think that every one of those GOLD STARS represented a service member who lost their lives, or became one of the MIA's in their service to the country. But you would be very wrong.
Each Star actually represents ONE HUNDRED of these fallen or missing heroes. And there are more than 4 thousand stars at this memorial.
Here's a thought. With all the talk of building a wall, perhaps the location should be shifted to DC, and surrounding the greater metro area. A requirement should have all visitors standing in front of this most important reminder of war's past, and saluting it. Then they would get a stamped receipt evidencing the viewing required before being allowed to exit the walled area.
A small tax on all those with incomes beyond a million bucks would have it paid for by next Wednesday at noon, and just think of all the jobs it would create.
While the marker notes American deaths, one should keep in mind that a significant number of these may well have been non-American born.
For decades Woody Williams has dedicated considerable time and probably money by playing a leading role in the recognition of those families left behind to mourn their lost service members.
Clearly it is a miracle that his own family did not have to morn his own loss of life. He claims he was being watched over from above.
He began life on a dairy farm and grew up milking the cows and running a delivery service of the family product to the neighbourhood. Odd jobs like driving trucks and even taxis's would bring in some money. Often he would be required to deliver the terrible news to families from the Western Union that brought them to their knees with the message that a son or daughter or other family member had been either Missing or lost in the war effort.
He'd recall his school teacher making sure that he and his classmates knew that they had a duty to stand up when needed and that the freedoms they enjoyed did not come from the end of a pen.
When Pearl Harbour was attacked Woody knew what he had to do. But height restrictions barred his entry for about a year. But when it dropped he signed up with the United States Marine Corps. Knowing nothing about the USMC he saw them on furlough always wearing their uniforms, (a requirement of the day), and "guys in uniform always got the girl," he would later claim. And so it was to the Marines he would join.
Woody expected to be on the home guard but soon was sent overseas to an island he had never heard off. The Solomons and beyond. It would be at the Island of Iwo Jima, that he had landed just 2 days earlier, that Woody would earn his Medal of Honor.
Bad intel did not tell the troops that the Japanese had about 20 miles of underground tunnels and pill boxes that, because of construction and concealment, where most difficult to take out by bombers and tanks getting caught up at water's edge. Many of the Marines were being killed by machine gunners in the bunkers.
Woody, now a Corporal and in charge of a detonations team that included flame throwers was among many NCO's and a few officers rallying to figure out how to take out the bunkers. Soon Woody would find himself with the flame thrower and about 70 pounds of gasoline, a moving target if ever there was such a thing, and with 4 Marines as personal guards, being sent out to try and destroy the enemy in the bunkers.
Each flame thrower, if used at full blast, only had enough fuel to last a few minutes. He'd soon gone through his first and 2nd... .and yet another 5 and would kill the enemy in seven bunkers that gave the marines a clear path to move forward. For this he would have the Medal of Honor draped around his neck by the President of the United States. A medal that he had never heard of, and knew nothing about till being the proud owner of one.
But as today's title suggests, Woody Williams felt very strongly that the medal did not belong to him. It belonged to the two Marines he lost protecting him, and to all the others that never got to come home.
Next Sunday's conclusion will tell of his efforts to recognize the families of those lost and missing in war.
Hope you will join me then,