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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

A Day of Remembrance

Here in the United States, on the
last Monday in May we celebrate
Memorial Day.  It used to be called
Decoration Day and graves of soldiers
were decorated but now it is a day
to reflect and think about all of our
soldiers, past and present.
This photo is of my Dad,
Mike Smanko who served in
the Army Air Corps in World War II.

Here he is driving a jeep
in Naples, Italy in 1945.

On the back of this one is written,
The best of luck Pal.
My Dad sure looks happy, the
other guys not so much...

This one says  Naples, Italy 1945.

There is the old saying, that war is hell.
But I don't think that was the case for
my Dad.  As a young guy who had spent
much of his life suffering through the
effects of the Great Depression, I think
this experience was a grand adventure.
Later in life he would tell us endless
stories of the war.  He got to travel around
the USA, then went overseas to North Africa
and Europe.  He loved Italy and took my
Mom back years later to Italy and
Germany to show her where he had been.
I love this picture where we can see the
tin cups and plates they used ~ he had
lots of stories and bad names for the food.

This is my Dad's dog on the hood
of an Army jeep, his name was

Here are all the guys, my Dad is on
the ledge in the back row.  I assume
this is in Italy somewhere,  I know I
have readers in Italy, if anyone recognizes
the dome of that church, please tell me
where it is, I'd love to visit there.

I have never been able to think of the day
as one of mourning.  I have never quite been
able to feel that the half-masted flags were
appropriate on Decoration Day.  I have
rather felt that the flag should be at the peak,
because those whose dying we commemorate
rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed
it.  We honor them in a joyous, thankful,
triumphant commemoration of what they did.
Benjamin Harrison

So, wherever you may live, think about
a soldier today and the sacrifices they
have made to keep us all safe.
Happy Memorial Day from this
American Homestead.

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