(the last of Mom's Memorial Day weekend 2000 Mindwalker1910 e-mails)
Yesterday, we went out for an early evening drive - my favorite time for a drive. It was wonderful to see how all-out our neighbors on Pheasant Run went - lots of flags and bunting. One neighbor always puts out her husband's WW II naval uniform, which is quite poignant and makes me think of those in peril on the sea.
This year, for who knows what reason, seeing the familiar uniform so lovingly displayed brought to mind the Merchant Marine, a group of men who took a bigger beating than any branch of the service.
The ratio of Mariners lost to enemy forces was staggering. Making the Murmansk Run, in the North Sea, saw more ships lost than returned. The ice and storms of the North Sea were deadly enough, there was the constant threat of roaming packs of German U-boats.
Since the ships sailed under the flag of the Merchant Marine, they rarely had military escort, even though the supplies they carried were vital to our Russian allies. They made easy pickings for the U-boats and they were under strict orders to keep sailing even if one of their convoy was hit. Just getting through was considered a victory - and then they had to turn around and go through those same waters with the same waiting U-boats.
The thing I have never, ever been able to understand is how their brave service in the Merchant Marine counted for nothing: no medals, no commendations, not even credit for their efforts. – after serving in the Merchant Marine, they could be drafted into regular service.
The allies could not have won the war without those men, but their bravery and sacrifice was never given the recognition it deserved. I honor it now, as I do every year.
Love to all - Gocky
<< What a Nora Numbskull I am - and Elsa, too! I referred to Veteran's Day when I meant Memorial Day or, as I knew it in my younger years, Decoration Day. Caught my mistake last night. Found myself saying, "The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month." The weather is more like Charter Day - football weather - than late spring; perhaps part of me could not fully grasp which season it is. I prefer that explanation to chalking it up to antiquated memory. >>