Sunday, August 22, 2021

A First time for everything

 


A lot of places that I get to go – have Veterans involved. So it comes as no surprise that a lot of times Quilts are involved –

This particular time still has me laughing.

I was invited to come to a family gathering, to award a WWII Veteran a Quilt of Valor. His family was so excited for this to happen, for their dad/granddad/sibling to get recognized for his service in the war.

They knew he served and when he arrived stateside, at the end of his service, he was given $10 and told to get back home. Of course, they deposited him in California –he farmed in Kansas/Colorado. That was not a real close drop off.

And so I arrive at the Gentleman’s house…. fully expecting to make my presentation and leave. Let the family have a party and celebrate. But this young 94 year old gentleman says to me and my husband – you all take a seat over there – I have one more person coming and then I will start my story.

Well Bless his heart – he probably did not know how much I love our Veterans stories so we just settled in and made ourselves at home.

His last guest arrived and this young gentleman got to talking. He told us how he was drafted and sent on a train ride – his first train ride ever – to the west coast. After training there he was sent on a huge plane – his first plane ride ever – to the east coast for water training. After that he was sent on a huge ship – his first ship ride ever – overseas. And then he got to talking about his travels overseas and the things that he did … and lawsy mercy – you could have heard a pin drop. Even his 4 year old great-great grandchild was at attention.

They weren’t told much about where they were going – just put on a ship and told to prepare. And so he did, and his first stop was Leyte in the Philippines – to the Japanese held island – and a Battle to take the island ensued. He had three other such amazing stops, and stories to tell us. We were spellbound.

Then he mentioned being injured, and receiving and award for it – One of us tentatively asked – A Purple Heart? And he said:  Why yes – that is exactly what it was. Would you like to see it? Again – you could have heard a pin drop. No one, not a one of his family members was even aware of the injury or the award.  He brought out other mementos as well, and told stories about each item. I could not have been more excited to learn about this man.

This is why I love our Quilts – I think they bring healing, they bring the stories, and they bring out History. Real History: from the people that made it.

32 comments:

julieQ said...

I love it...that quilt and your love and recognition sparked a very great thing for this man and his family. Bravo!

The Joyful Quilter said...

What a spectacular photo to go with that wonderful story, Alycia!

Becky said...

I've made two very special quilts for WWII vets that I met with to hear the stories prior to making the quilt. One of them has a case on the wall with all the medals and such from his service time. I was able to take pictures of them, then sized them in Photoshop and printed them out the size I wanted onto fabric. He, too, was in the South Pacific. Best story - the miracle that occured during a hurricane. A marine member of the gun crew was swept overboard on one of the rolls of the ship. He was still at the top of the trough when the ship pitched back again and his shipmates were able to pull him out of the water and back onto the ship. This is well documented in the national archives. Amazing stories. Like you, I love them all.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

it is always interesting to hear of WWII and their experiences I had an uncle that survived the Bataan Death March and 4 years of being a prisoner of war - he talked of his experiences one time to his family after coming home and then told them he would never talk of it again and as far as I know he never did. I would know nothing about it if my father didn't share what all he remembered and told us never to talk to Linus about it as he wouldn't want us to. Also had a great aunt on my mom's side that was a red cross volunteer in WW2 and fly what they called "puddle jumpers" little air planes with supplies and people in the south Pacific in safe zones I have a photo of her with Eleanor Roosevelt standing next to the plane - a prized possession for sure. One rarely hears of the women in the war.

Quiltdivajulie said...

And then you share that goodness with all of us! I am so glad his family heard him tell his stories …

Jan @Cocoa Quilts said...

What a fabulous day! Thanks for sharing his story!

Sherrill said...

Once again, AWESOME, Alycia!! Such a cool, cool story about one of our many heroes!! So glad you were there to hear and to share with us.

quiltingbydawn said...

Oh wow! What a wonderful story! So many don’t talk about their heroics in the war/service that even their families aren’t aware! So much fun that you were able to be a part of his story telling and give him a quilt!

Vicki W said...

Oh my gosh, what a special day!

Judy in Michigan said...

Were the travels of the soldier the one you gave the quilt to? or the man you were waiting for?? No matter, this is one great story!!

sue s said...

Thank you for what YOU do! It is wonderful to hear these stories.

Kathleen said...

Wonderful story - My great uncle was in WWII and never spoke much about it, until Band of Brothers. He was one of the soldiers in the movie...so interesting to know more about Uncle Joe Toye...and I am forever grateful that the movie allowed him to speak more about his service to our country and really, to the world.

Donna said...

Great post Alycia!

Sue in Scottsdale, AZ said...

This is a fantastic story and makes the Quilt of Valor program even more worthwhile. I love making the quilts I send you and you'll soon be receiving another box from me!

Delighted Hands said...

I've got goosebumps. You are right about the quilts giving them permission to speak about the war--that people really do care.
Beautiful.

loulee said...

You must hear many, many wonderful stories. So many veterans didn't talk when they came home and their stories have remained untold.

Elizabeth V Kelbaugh said...

Thank you for sharing the story and the QOV to honor his service.

Pat said...

What a wonderful experience! Thanks for sharing.

Vicki in MN said...

And a fabulous story that you get to share with us. It's always fun to hear about your quilt of valor journeys.

KatieQ said...

The number of WWII veterans is dwindling. No matter how many times we read about historical events, hearing from a man who was a witness to this portion of history was a blessing. Many of our veterans never get to share their stories. It's a loss to our country not to hear about their experiences. Thank you for all you do for veterans.

Katy Sweigart said...

Great story! Wish I could have been able to listen in!

Robby said...

Sometimes it is like they just needed the right moment to share all those amazing (and often hard or terrible) things they experienced. What a gift... to everyone there.

Shasta Matova said...

That would be an honor indeed to hear the stories of such a man.

GrandmaCindy said...

Do you have a particular pattern that female veterans seem to enjoy.I have just joined a quilts of valor group. Thank you I love your blog, Cindy Nelson

Ronelle said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. It brought back many fond memories of grandpa and all his WWII experiences he would share with us.

Tracy B said...

I present QOVs also. The stories, tears and authentic appreciation are always yugging at my heart.

Preeti said...

Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing, Alycia!!!

cityquilter grace said...

you are so right alycia...

Sara said...

A wonderful post. I have 2 QOV here at my house, waiting to be presented as soon as we can make arrangements. And our small QOV group is finally doing a bit of sewing again so we'll have more to present. It really has been an honor to be a part of this.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story - thank you so much for sharing it and for all that you have done for the veterans.

Kate said...

Such a amazing thing to do for his family. I hope he really enjoyed his QOV.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

A lot of WWII vets only talked about what happened to them to other vets. When my daddy was little, shortly after the war, he'd go with his father to the American Legion hall. My daddy would sit under a table, mostly hidden and be real quiet so that the vets would forget about him and start talking about their war stories. My daddy would listen to them for hours. He was only 5-6 years old.