Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Memories - Day 3

Hello all, and welcome to the third and final day in the Memorial Day Memories link up! I've had such an amazing time, and I hope y'all have, too! If you haven't read them already, be sure and catch up on the posts that have been a part of the link up so far.

Today, Faith and Kellyn are joining the the link up. Well, technically, Kellyn posted yesterday, but I didn't link to it. Sorry about that! But be sure to go and read her post! :)

Yesterday I was able to drag my sister along with me to attend a WWII memorial day ceremony. It was held at our Veterans Memorial park, and it was AMAZING! They played a ton of 40s style music (awesomeness. xD), and several veterans of WWII shared their stories. We also had the Honor Guard from our local Air Force Base there, and  of course, we sang the National Anthem, and recited the pledge of allegiance.
It was a one-of-a-kind experience, and I enjoyed it immensely. Being surrounded by so many men who have served is sobering. You're faced with just what they sacrificed for you, you get a chance to thank them, thought it's in such a small way. I was able to meet a number of the veterans, and I never fail to be impressed by their courage and humility.

So yes, it was a wonderful way so celebrate memorial day. (I also got  interviewed for our local news station, which was a fun first. xD)

 On day one of the link up I told you I wasn't sure what I had planned for today. So yeah, this post is gonna be a bit different. ;) Since I've posted about two fallen heroes, I'm not going to do another story on one today. Well, at least, not a true one.

I am, however, going to go ahead and share a short story I wrote for Memorial day. I hope y'all enjoy it. Also, at the end of the post there is a YouTube playlist that I put together with a nice assortment of Memorial Day songs. So if you're like me and you want to listen to some songs that talk about the greatest sacrifice, go ahead and listen to them. And have a box of tissues on hand. ;) I think they've all made me tear up listening to them.
So yes, without further ado, the story and songs! And I hope y'all have a blessed Memorial day!


It seems that as Memorial Day rolls around each year, the ache I feel should decrease. It doesn't. Sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong with me. It's been two years. I should be over it, shouldn't I?
But then again, how does one ever get over losing a brother?
The grass is soft and full beneath my boots as I make my way into the small cemetery on the outskirts of our little town. All is quiet here. Most people have already paid their respects, and, as usual, I am the last to do so. Not because I chose to, but because I didn't get home till an hour ago.
You see, I've been overseas twice without him since he died. And it seems that every time I come home, it gets harder to do so. Why?
Well, I reckon that could be because he isn't coming back with me.
The hot sun has started to fade a bit, but I can hardly feel the decrease of heat under my full dress uniform. People tell me it isn't necessary to dress up to go see him. But I feel it is. See, if it weren't for him, I'd be the one lying there. I should be the one lying there. But I'm not.
The least I can do is show him the respect he deserves when I place the flag beside the gravestone.
The little white, picket gate still squeaks on its hinges as I open it. I allow myself a small smile. No one can find it in their hearts to fix it. My brother, he was the one who lent a hand in doing such repairs in our little town. Wherever he was needed, that's where you would find him. And it didn't matter what the job was. It could be anything from babysitting, or helping an elderly lady take her trash to the curb. No job was too low for my brother.
My hero.
I close the gate behind me, and my steps slow. My eyes sweep over the other gravestones. Some are a fitting remembrance for people who have lived life to the full. People who were blessed with many years.
But others are unable to properly represent the lives that were snuffed out before it was time. People full of dreams. Dreams that never came true.
For my brother, that dream was having a family. He even had a girl picked out, and they were gonna tie the knot when we got home. But I guess the Good Lord had another plan. And while I know we're supposed to accept His will, there are many times I still struggle with it.
I pause in front of the simple stone marker. Such a small tribute to a man who was so loved by everyone. I take off my hat and kneel down next to it.

Mitchell “Mitch” Lawson
July 4th, 1992 - July 1st, 2015
To those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,
May we forever be grateful.

He had died only three days before his twenty-third birthday. Being born on the fourth, I think Mitch always knew he was going to enter the service. He used to joke that mom had set it all up for him. For as long as I can remember, it was all he ever had planned. And being the younger brother that I was, all I wanted to do was follow in his footsteps.
And I had.
I unbutton my pocket and pull out a picture that is now faded and worn. It’s both of us, just before we shipped out on our first tour overseas. We’re both dressed in the Marine fatigues, our arms draped around each other’s shoulders. Goofy grins cover our faces as we both exasperate mom. She wanted a good picture, and we had been determined to give her only goofy ones.
Now I wish we had cooperated. Gotten a sober picture. 
But then, it wouldn’t be us. We were the crazy ones. In family get-togethers, we were always the ones causing trouble. Nothing big, of course. Just things like putting a dead mouse in the fridge to scare Aunt Ruth, or putting plastic spiders in the guest bed to make our cousins scream.
The memories make me smile. “We were quite a pair, weren’t we, Mitch?”
Of course, the gravestone remains silent, and my question goes unanswered. Suddenly, the happy memories are replaced with the nightmares.
It was a routine check over in the Middle East, where we had been station. It wasn’t supposed to end in death.
We were ready to leave when suddenly shots rang out. Our small squadron of troops immediately dove to the ground, trying to find a bit of cover.
All of them, except for me.
I stood frozen, unmoving. I had been in firefights before, but this one was different. My eyes were glued to something in front of me that no one else could see.
Half hidden behind a rock outcropping, a hooded man had a sniper rifle pointed at me. But for some reason, he hadn’t shot me yet. And I couldn't move for fear that it would set him off.
The problem was, Mitch had the same line of sight that I did, and he saw the sniper. Things happened so fast, it feels like someone played it in fast motion.
I saw the man’s finger movie toward the trigger, and before I could do anything, I had been shoved to the ground from behind.
I landed hard, and my mouth filled with the gritty sand.
Behind me, a shot rang out.
I turned.
And my brother . . . he was gone.
The wind runs its fingers through my hair, and I’m jerked back to the present. Putting the photo back in my pocket, I take the flag and press it firmly into the ground beside the tombstone that marks his life. “Thank you, bro.” I swallow hard and take a deep breath before I’m able to finish. “For being my hero, for being my best friend . . . and for giving it all up for me.”
I stand and put my hat back on my head. My jaw clenches as I struggle to keep the tears back. Good grief, if Mitch could see me now, he wouldn’t believe I was the same person.
But then, I’m not. Not really.
The sun is beginning to slip below the trees. I need to make my way home. I stand there for a moment longer, and then snap a crisp salute. “Semper fi.”
Two small words that seem so inadequate. But then again, what else is there to say?
Always Faithful. That describes my brother. Faithful to the end. He fought the good fight. He did his work. Now he’s enjoying his eternal rest with our Saviour.
And one day, I know I'll see him again. Where there will be no more suffering, no more pain. No more war. And everything will be made new.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.


The land of the free, the home of the brave, 
A Nation under God, we stand to proclaim.
For freedom and liberty we stand, 
but a high price must be paid. 

All gave some, but some gave all.
Some still give to this day. 
That we may freely, securely live, in this land that we dearly call home. 

Some Gave All. Never Forget Their Sacrifice. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day memories- Day 2

"Not For Fame or Reward, Not For Place or For Rank
But In Simple Obedience To Duty as They Understood It"

And we've come to the second day of the link-up!  I'm joined by Faith P. and Gabrielle Emmons. Be sure and check out their amazing posts!  

Today I have a post for you about Richard Seglem, a man who fought in Vietnam and died there. 

I couldn't find much about this man. For some reason, there was no obituary listed, and the only records I could find were the record of his death. He was from Wichita, KS, that much I know. He was twenty years old, and he had been serving in the army for a year.  His grave is in cemetery not far from where I live, and I'm planning on doing some more research on him when I can get down to our central library.

But what I have been able to uncover brought tears to my eyes. 

I found messages written to him after he had died. 

We went to school together.
We were drafted together. 
We trained together.
We served together.
We who survived, live for you.
~A friend (found and taken from this site) 

Peace and condolence, to the family and friends. “GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT HE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS” **John 15:13** You are my friend, always remembered, never forgotten.” May God Bless you for your Sacrifice!!!
~A Fellow Veteran (Found and taken from this site) 

I miss you and love you,and thank you and I am so proud of you for the courage and character you showed in answering your country's call. It was an honorable act being a soldier. 
~Patsy Richardson, his sister. (Found and taken from this site) 

After reading these, I wanna know more about him so bad! He sounds like an amazing man. Someone like that only comes around once in a lifetime. He was only twenty when he died. Shot down over in a foreign country. 

The cause of his death? Well, as his gravestone reads,  Mistaken for the Enemy Troops in Vietnam.  He wasn't killed by the enemy. He was mistaken for the enemy and killed by his own. 

Learning of Private Seglem and reading his story makes me think of someone else who was killed by His own people. By those He had grown up with. Only, He went willingly. He could have fought back, could have called a legion of angels to destroy those who were bent on killing Him.  

Yet, because of Christ's great love towards us, He sacrificed himself for us. A sacrifice for the remission of our sins. He was willing to lay down His life, that we might live free. 

As we celebrate Memorial day, let's remember something. Only two people have ever died for our freedom. Jesus, and the American soldier. One died to free our souls from the power that sin had over us. The other died to give of the gift of freedom as we live on this earth. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memorial Day Memories - Day 1

"No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- Calvin Coolidge

And . . . it's here! The first day of a three-day blog link up! We have some amazing blogs participating, so be sure and check the page I added on the blog.
Joining me today in posting are Livi Jane and Emily Ann Putzke. Be sure to head over and check out their posts!

Today I'm doing a post on a WWII soldier who was killed, tomorrow there will be a post on a Korean or Vietnam solider, and then Monday, well, I'm not sure what I'm doing on Monday quite yet. ;) I guess we'll see what happens.

So, without further ado, let's get onto the post, shall we?

The waves wash softly against the white, sandy beaches. Overhead, the sound of seagulls fill the brisk early morning air. A sense of peace falls over the area and surrounding fields. The sun is appearing over the waves, and the ripples are shimmering and dancing in the beams of light. 
Just a bit over the hill, green grassy fields dotted with white spread out as far as the eye can see. If you step a little closer, you can almost feel the sacred silence that surrounds the place. 
You see, this isn't just any beach. This is Normandy. And it's shores hold the graves of thousands of soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. 
And among these brave men, among all the crosses and unmarked graves, a single cross reads Corporal Robert Booth Jr. Kansas, July 9, 1944 Such a simple cross. Such a simple marker. But really, there's so much more to the story. 

Robert Booth was born at the Booth home in Kiowa county, Kans., on December 5, 1921 and died in the Normandy invasion area in France on July 12, 1944, at the age of 22 years, 7 months and 7 days.
He was reared on his father's farm and became a real farmer, always taking great pride in his work.
He attended the Booth rural school and Wilmore High School and at the time he entered the Army in 1942, about two years ago, was farming with his father.
Bob took his basic training at Camp Walters, Texas, and was then sent to Camp Blanding, Fla. He was on Maneuvers in Tennessee and was then transferred to Camp Atterbury near Indianapolis, Ind., before going overseas.
While he was stationed in Florida he was given a furlough home last December (1943), and no soldier was more pleased to see his parents and friends, and the house and land that he loved.
Cpl. Booth landed in England last March and there continued his intensive training. He took his training in the infantry in stride and was a good soldier, always doing his full part. He has made the Supreme Sacrifice that his buddies and loved ones may live in peace through the coming generations.
(Information taken from Roots Web)
He was also awarded the Purple Heart. 

I wonder what this guy was like. I mean, really like. What did he like for breakfast? What was his favorite chore on the farm? What were his hopes and dreams for life? Did he want to be a farmer, or perhaps have something else planned for when the war was over? Did he step onto that beach with the thought of home in the back of his mind? What stirred him to fight? What were his last thoughts? Did he suffer, or was he killed instantly? 
So many questions will forever go unanswered. Because he didn't just fight. He gave his life. 

He made a sacrifice that we may live in peace. May we never forget what others have suffered for us. 

Never forget the price they paid for our freedom. 

And . . . that about wraps it up for today. :) I'm looking forward to being back here tomorrow with you all. And I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Memories

Hello everyone! I hope this week has treated you well. :) I had a super busy week, and as such, I didn't have the time to write the last post in the Guadalcanal series. Which, actually worked out since I wanted to focus on Memorial day this weekend. ;)
And don't worry! The final post will be up next week!

I've had a fantastic response to the Memorial Day Memories blog link up, and I can't wait to get it kicked off tomorrow! Also, if you would like to join but haven't yet, please remember this is the last day to let me know. ;)
 I'd like to know what days you guys are posting, so I can include the links in each of my posts. However, you don't have to tell me ahead of time if you'd rather not. Just know your post link won't be in my post. :)

After my last post, I had someone ask if it was okay to include police officers. The answer is YES! They and their families also sacrifice so much to keep us safe in our day to day lives. Any post on an officer who has fallen in the line of duty is welcome. :)

Just as a quick review... the link-up runs from Saturday, May 27th, through Monday, May 29th. I will be posting each day, but you're welcome to post as many or as few times as you wish! Below I've included three graphics I made for the link up. Feel free to use them if you wish, or make your own.

And . .  that's all I can think of right now. If you guys have any other comments or questions, feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment below. :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Memorial Day Memories: Three days of honoring our fallen heroes {A blog link-up}

Hello all! I hope your week is off to a fabulous start! So, as most (hopefully all? xD) of you know, Memorial day is this coming Monday, the 29th.
The other day I got to thinking about how a lot of people don't really understand just exactly what memorial day is about. And I'd like to remedy that. ;)
Introducing . . . Memorial Day Memories!  How many of you would be interested in joining in a memorial day blog link-up?

It's going to be a three day link up, from the 27th through the 29th, and you can post anytime you'd like within those three days. You can create your own graphic, or you're more than welcome to use the one I'm going to make. (I'll post it later on this week.) The goal of each post is to recognize and honor the men who have paid that ultimate price for our freedom. I want the posts to be pretty open to whatever, but I do have a few guidelines for you to follow.

1.) You must include a story about someone who has died in the line of duty. If possible, I'd like to have it be someone from your city/state, or from your family. Make it personal. UPDATED EDIT: I realize that most of us don't personally know people who have died in the line of duty. And for that I'm incredibly thankful! So when I say make it personal, I mean make it about someone from the area you live. ;)

2.)  I'd appreciate it if the stories you chose about our fallen heroes come from the past 100 years. No later, as it can be hard to find conclusive documentation on much before then. (Unless, say, it's someone in your family tree who was in the Civil war, or some such thing.)

3.) These posts are to honor our fallen men and women in uniform. So even if you may not agree with the ideology behind war or our American political system, please be careful to not say anything that will dishonor them and their service.

And . . . that's about all. You're free to post just one day, or all three! You can add wherever you want to the post. A story, poem, song, etc. Whatever you'd like to do!

If you'd like to participate, please let me know no later than Friday! I'm going to add a page to my blog for the link-up, and I would like to include the links of all the participating blogs there.

So . . . does his sound like something you'd be interested in? Something you'd enjoy participating in? I hope so! This memorial day weekend, let's take over the blogging world with stories that will honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

I can't wait for you to join me!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Dressmaker's Secret/Ivy Introspective Cover reveal!

Yesss, it's time for a cover reveal! It's been a while since I did one of those on here. ;) I'm joining Kellyn Roth in the cover reveal for two of her books! :) The covers are beautiful, ESPECIALLY the one for Ivy Introspective. It's my favorite, and oh, so pretty! But, you probably want to see the covers, not listen to me talk about them. xD

After a revealing conversation with the first children of her age she’s ever met, curious eight-year-old Alice Chattoway realizes that one ought to have a father … and she doesn’t. Having determined that his absence is making her mother unhappy, Alice resolves to find him and create a family for herself.

However, Alice’s mother, Miss Chattoway, is reluctant to answer any questions posed about a man she’d much rather forget. While Alice investigates, Miss Chattoway tries to balance her own spiritual turmoil with her need to be both mother and provider to her daughters.

Will Alice ever unravel her mother’s secrets? Can Miss Chattoway let go of the past to reach for the future?

Trapped in a world where she doesn’t belong, twelve-year-old Ivy Knight struggles to keep her head above water as her simplicity is brought to light by her new position as a young lady growing up at Pearlbelle Park.

Worried about their daughter’s inability to fit in, Ivy’s parents decide to send her to McCale House, a boarding school in Scotland for boys and girls like her. However, alone and frightened without her beloved mother, sister, and nurse, Ivy can’t seem to focus.

Will Ivy ever learn what Dr. McCale is trying to teach her? Or will she remain lost in her own mind forever?

Also, I had to come back and edit this, BECAUSE I FORGOT TO INCLUDE IT IN THE POST! *gasps* I know, how terrible of me. But. anyway. Here are the places you can connect with the lovely author, Kellyn Roth. :) (SO sorry for not remembering to add them in the beginning, Kellyn...)

Website · Blog · Newsletter · Facebook · Amazon · Goodreads

Don't they sound amazing? Something you'd want to read? I'm looking forward to doing so sometime! :) 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Operation: Guadalcanal - Part 2

Guadalcanal: Henderson Field 

So . .  .  it wasn't a trap. The Japanese were initially stunned by the landing and attack on the island.
Taking advantage of the initial panic and retreat, the Marines quickly pressed forward a mile inland, and captured the unfinished air strip. From then on, the air base would be know as Henderson field.  Immediately after it was captured, construction battalions began work to finish the airfield for the arrival of the Marine Air units, which would support the Guadalcanal operation. 

It didn't take the Japanese long to see the threat caused by the Americans, and Japanese bombers and fighters from Rabaul, over 500 miles to the west, were on their way to storm the beachhead. Fortunately for the American troops, Navy fighter from the three carriers were able to drive the enemy off. However, as a result of this, the American Naval fliers faced heavy losses. 

For many months following, the Marine's hold on Henderson Field would remain precarious. The Japanese were determined to drive the Americans back to the sea, and the Americans were just as determined not to go. 

The Cactus Air Force 

The Cactus Air Force was the name adopted by the Marine fliers at Henderson field. Many of these men and planes had been flown over from Pearl Harbor, taken to Henderson field by the carrier Long Island
In the words of one of the marines present when they arrived on the island, "It looked so good to see something American circling in the sky over the airfield. It was like being alone, and the lights come on, and you've got friends from home in the same room with you." (Quote taken from the book The Conquering Tide by Ian Toll) 
This small band of fliers would face many difficult days ahead. Though the carriers and their aircraft stayed around to help for a while, all too soon the ships left to avoid getting captured by the Japanese Navy. This left the small air force as the protectors of the island. Though, by now, the U.S. Army also had come to assist the Marines. 
The fliers, planes, and commanders all played a crucial role in the capture and conquest of the island. And though it would still be many months before the battle was considered over, the men who were a part of the Cactus Air Force contributed to the eventual American victory more than they were ever given credit for. 

Unknown Hero

Harold W. Bauer

(All information below taken from Wikipedia. I cross referenced with different sources, and found it all to be true. In fact, the first place I read about him was in the research book United States Naval Fighters of WWII. 

(Fun fact, this guy was born in Kansas. He gets extra bonus points for being amazing. xD) 
Harold Bauer, known more commonly as Joe Bauer, entered the Naval Academy in 1926 and was appointed a Marine second lieutenant upon graduation in 1930. Bauer's two younger brothers also followed him into the Academy.
 Following his commissioning, Bauer attended the Officers Basic School at Quantico, Virginia. He was then assigned as a company officer with the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines at Quantico.
In 1932, he became assistant basketball and lacrosse coach at the Naval Academy and an instructor in marksmanship, until his assignment to the San Diego Naval Base, where he was the Assistant Range Officer. He was promoted to first lieutenant on May 29, 1934.
He was then assigned to the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, in December 1934 where he earned his wings as a Marine aviator in February 1936. He was promoted to captain on June 30, 1937 and served with several squadrons at Quantico including Marine Scouting Squadron 1 (VMS-1) and Marine Fighting Squadron 1 (VMF-1). Bauer was transferred to the Naval Air Station San Diego, California, in June 1940 where he served as executive officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221). While stationed at San Diego, he participated in carrier group exercises on the USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3). The December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor found Bauer and VMF-221 preparing to embark aboard the Saratoga for transport to Hawaii.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Bauer and VMF-221 were transported to Hawaii and were slated to reinforce Wake Island, but were diverted to Midway after Wake fell. Transferred to Hawaii in February 1942, Bauer took command of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Eleven, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, and on March 1, 1942 commissioned and took command of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Twelve (VMF-212). Promoted to Major on April 29, 1942, Bauer and VMF-212 were deployed to the South Pacific and were stationed at New Caledonia, and later Efate, Vanuatu. Although still the commanding officer of VMF-212, Bauer was also responsible for the operation of the airfield the squadron operated from and was utilized to select possible sites for additional airfields in the South Pacific. Bauer's promotion to lieutenant colonel, after only three months as a major, was effective
August 7.
On September 28, 1942, Bauer performed the first feat cited for the Medal of Honor. His squadron was attacked by a superior force of Japanese planes. He engaged the enemy and shot down one of their bombers. Again attacking a superior force on October 3, 1942, he shot down four of the enemy and left a fifth badly damaged.
While leading a reinforcement flight on October 16, 1942, from Espirito Santo, Vanuatu to Guadalcanal, 600 miles (970 km) away, Bauer was about to land at Henderson Field when he noticed a squadron of Japanese planes attacking the USS McFarland (DD-237) offshore. Though the long flight from Espirito Santo had almost exhausted his fuel and he knew no friendly planes were able to assist him, he immediately proceeded alone to attack the enemy and succeeded in destroying four of them before lack of gasoline forced him to return to Henderson Field.
On November 14, 1942, he was shot down over water after downing two enemy aircraft in an attack 100 miles (160 km) off Guadalcanal. He was seen in the water in his Mae West water flotation device as light was fading. He did not appear to be seriously hurt. The following morning began days of intense searching by planes and Russell Island natives, but no further trace of him was found.
The squadron under his command at Guadalcanal was officially credited with downing 92 Japanese planes and helping to sink two destroyers. Lieutenant Colonel Bauer was commended for his action in the South Pacific by commanders of Army, Navy and Marine Corps units including Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., then Commander of the South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force.
Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila, Vanuatu is named in his honor.

And . . . that's it for today's post! Are you guys enjoying this mini-series so far? Come back next week for the third and final installment! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Operation: Guadalcanal - Part 1

Guadalcanal: Introduction

Early June, 1942 

Hello all, and welcome to the first post in the Operation: Guadalcanal blog series! Right now, the plan is to have three parts. A bit of an introduction to the island and the war in this post, next week's will have the battle over Henderson Field and the final post will be on the battle of Guadalcanal. So, are you ready to join me? Awesome! 


By late June/early July, the American Navy was in a bit of a precarious position. The battle at Midway, taking place the first few days of June, had sent the aircraft carriers back to the docks for repair. While the men enjoyed some shore leave, the Pacific commanders consisting of Admiral King (Commander in Chief, United States Fleet), Admiral Nimtz (Commander in chief, United States Pacific Fleet), and General MacArthur(Chief of Staff of the planned the next offensive.

Why is General MacArthur listed above? Well, the invasion of Guadalcanal was going to be an amphibious assault, and would consist of not only the navy, but U.S. Marine and Army troops as well. Such cooperation between the branches of the military was almost unheard of, and none of the commanders were too happy about it. Problem was, the Navy couldn't do it alone. Neither could the army. And for the first time since the war had begun, they had to depend on one another.

But why Guadalcanal?

On the island, there was a group called the Coastwatchers. This consisted of an Australian man and a group of native who monitored the coast, and sent reports back to the U.S. high command.
Their latest report had transmitted to the U.S. command that the Japanese were building an airfield and runway on the island. This was a concern to the U.S, because whoever controlled the islands also controlled the shipping lanes to Australia.

That helped to decide the matter. The first landing and U.S. offensive of the war would be at Guadalcanal.


They date was set for August first. However, it didn't take long before the decision to delay a week was made. Various uncontrollable delays got in the way, and it was rescheduled for the seventh.

Task force 61 set out for Guadalcanal on July 22nd, 1942, consisting of the carriers U.S.S Enterprise, and the U.S.S. Saratoga, and their accompanying battleships, cruisers, transports, fleet oilers, and cargo vessels. They made good time speeding across the Pacific, and were ready to begin the operations right on schedule.
On August sixth, it was time to put the first part of the plan into action. Carrier fighters were launched before dawn and they made their way to the island and began strafing runs over the unfinished airfields. Dive bombers, also from the Enterprise, and Saratoga, planted bombs in marked enemy targets just inside the shoreline.

When they were finished, it was the Destroyer's turn. as August 7th dawned, they began blasting the landing beaches. This went on for several hours as the Marine forces made their way from the ships into landing craft, and at last, onto the island.
As the first boat touched the sand, the guns fell silent, and an eerie stillness settled over everything.

And nothing happened. For the next several hours, the island was quite and peaceful. None of the attacks that had been expected. Some of the men were uneasy. Could it have somehow be a trap?

Come back next week to find out. ;) 

Unknown Hero

James Southerland

(All information below taken from Wikipedia. I cross referenced with different sources, and found it all to be true. In fact, the first place I read about him was in a research book.) 

James Julien "Pug" Southerland II (October 28, 1911 – October 12, 1949) was a United States Navy fighter pilot during World War II. He was an ace, being credited with five victories (some accounts say seven), flying Grumman F4F Wildcats. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart.

At the beginning of the Battle of Guadalcanal, August 7, 1942, American forces shelled Guadalcanal and neighboring Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. Soon after the attack began, 27 Japanese bombers and an escort of 17 fighters took off from Rabaul, Japan's stronghold and strategic base in the South Pacific. Their mission was to bomb the ships that were supporting the American attack.

Lieutenant Southerland commanded a group of eight American Wildcats aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga as a part of VF-5. Due to planning errors and the loss of planes to a recent training exercise, this was the only fighter cover available to patrol the landing area. Southerland (flying Wildcat F-12) and his flight took off to intercept the Japanese bombers before they could reach the American ships.

Southerland shot down the first Japanese aircraft of the Guadalcanal campaign, a G4M1 "Betty" bomber of the 4th Kōkūtai, under the command of Shizuo Yamada. After shooting down a second bomber, Southerland was engaged in a dogfight with an A6M2 "Zero", piloted by Yamazaki Ichirobei of the Tainan Kōkūtai. He lined up the Zero in his sights only to find his guns would not fire, probably due to damage from fire by the tailgunner from the second bomber he had downed.

Although he was now defenseless, Southerland had to stay in the fight. Two more Zeros engaged him, as Kakimoto Enji and Uto Kazushi joined Yamazaki's assault, but he successfully outmaneuvered all three of them. Southerland analyzed their tactics. Two fighters worked their runs from opposite flanks, while the third waited to take its turn. He coolly and carefully executed his defensive maneuvers. The dogfight was spotted by Saburo Sakai. Sakai also joined the battle. These Zeros finally shot down Southerland's Wildcat. 
Yamazaki, Uto and Sakai shared Southerland's Grumman kill. 

Southerland later wrote:

My plane was in bad shape but still performing nicely in low blower, full throttle, and full low pitch. Flaps and radio had been put out of commission...The after part of my fuselage was like a sieve. She was still smoking from incendiary but not on fire. All of the ammunition box cover on my left wing were gone and 20mm explosives had torn some gaping holes in its upper surface...My instrument panel was badly shot up, goggles on my forehead had been shattered, my rear view mirror was broken, my plexiglass windshield was riddled. The leak proof tanks had apparently been punctured many times as some fuel had leaked down into the bottom of the cockpit even though there was no steady leakage. My oil tank had been punctured and oil was pouring down my right leg.At this time a zero making a run from the port quarter put a burst in just under the left wing root and good old 5-F-12 finally exploded. I think the explosion occurred from gasoline vapor. The flash was below and forward of my left foot. I was ready for it...Consequently I dove over the right side just aft immediately, though I don't remember how.

As Southerland bailed out of his doomed Wildcat, his .45 caliber automatic pistol caught in the cockpit. He managed to free himself, but lost his pistol, leaving him weaponless, wounded, and alone behind enemy lines. Suffering from eleven wounds, shock and exhaustion, Southerland struggled through the brush, carefully evading Japanese soldiers. He finally reached the coast, where he was found by some natives, who at the risk of their own lives, fed him and treated his wounds. With their assistance, he eluded Japanese ground forces and returned to American lines. Southerland was evacuated from Guadalcanal on the first patrol boat to land at Henderson Field, on August 20, 1942.


Well, that wraps up today's post! What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy it? Was it a bit too long? Any questions? Let me know! :) 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Victory in Europe-May 8th, 1945


This is a solemn but glorious hour. I only wish that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day. General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the united nations. The flags of freedom fly all over Europe. 
-President Truman in his radio broadcast to America. 

It has been seventy-two years since this broadcast was first heard over the radio waves in America.  After four and a half years of fighting, Americans everywhere welcomed the news with great rejoicing. Hitler had been defeated. Europe was, once again, free. 

But that didn't mean things were over. In the pacific, the war with Japan raged on, showing no signs of slowing anytime soon. Many families had been torn apart by the war, and their boys in uniform would never come home.  Many had made the ultimate sacrifice, never living to see the day when they freedom they fought for became a reality.  

Yet, their sacrifice had not been in vain. Europe was freed from the iron fist of Hitler and the Nazi party. And even though it didn't mean the war was over, it was a cause for great rejoicing. The war in Europe had started over two years before the war in the Pacific. And when it started, it seemed as if Germany's win was inevitable. 

But he had been stopped. A few days before surrender, Hitler had committed suicide.  And the world had no more to fear from him. One by one the Nazi leaders either killed themselves, or were captured. 
The dawn of freedom was shining once again on the European countries that had been under the iron control of the Third Reich for over five years. 

"For the triumph of spirit and of arms which we have won, and for its promise to the peoples everywhere who join us in the love of freedom, it is fitting that we, as a nation, give thanks to Almighty God, who has strengthened us and given us the victory.
"Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint Sunday, May 13, 1945, to be a day of prayer.
"I call upon the people of the United States, whatever their faith, to unite in offering joyful thanks to God for the victory we have won, and to pray that He will support us to the end of our present struggle and guide us into the ways of peace.
"I also call upon my countrymen to dedicate the day of prayer to the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory.
-Taken from President Truman's broadcast

*All pictures taken from google images*

I pray we may never forget the sacrifice made for freedom. And may we keep a vigilant watch over it, so that we may never have cause to say "we lost our freedom."

America. The Land of the Free. And the Home of the Brave. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

April happenings + Introducing a new blog series

It is Thursday night, May 4th, 2017. The time is at 10:50pm. And my brain has decided to die.

Someone help me.

It's May.

I can't--I just can't wrap my head around it.

Okay, so this is supposed to be a month in review post of sorts, but as we have already concluded, my brain is pretty much . . .  gone. I'm gonna thank NaNo. So if this post makes no sense. . . yeah, that's why. Hopefully, by next week, it'll have recharged fully. (My brain, I mean. Not the post.)

Shall we get on with it?

April was craziness. Piano recital, visit from a dear friend, missions trip finalizations, and of course, NaNo. Somehow I managed to keep up and actually meet all the April deadlines?! Like . . . I have no idea how it happened. Many of my goals went down the tubes, but the deadlines were met. So that was good. ;)
I'm gonna divide this into two sections. Or three, rather. Visit, Missions Trip, and then the idea I had for a new blog series.


As I mentioned, I had a visitor for ten days in April! Emily McConnell flew down here and we had a blast! Honestly, I can't believe it's already over. It was amazing! We visited the zoo, fed the giraffes, toured museums, jaywalked our way over to an Air Force base (don't ask. It was her fault), became the president for a day, (shh, don't tell Trump), laughed till we cried over a goodbye scene in my story, walked around a cemetery, and touched the Berlin wall. Or, a section of it at least. xD
In between, we talked, laughed, were completely random, and then had totally serious conversations. Sometimes we would talk at the same time, other times we'd both sit in silence, thinking. 
It was the busiest and most wonderful ten days of my life. I'm so blessed Emily was able to come and visit, and I'm looking forward to going to visit her again next year!
We were also blessed to be able to visit a mutual friend of our, Kate, and spend the day with her and her sister. It was so much fun!

Oh.You want pictures? Okay. xD

Yes, people. I just signed a bill into law. No, I have no idea what it was,
but it must have been of grave importance. 

With Kate and her sister. 
Emily and I. 

-Missions Trip-
I'm preparing to go on a missions trip to Mexico this June. We're going to be up in the mountains near the bottom of Mexico, almost into Guatemala. Most of the stuff for the trip got finalized in April, and I'm really looking forward to it. We'll be spending ten days in a small village up in the mountains. I believe we'll be running a clinic, as well as doing some bible study groups. I've never been out of the country before, so this will be a new experience! 
I'm going with two older couples from our church, and I'm looking forward to getting to knowing them better on the trip, and seeing what God has in store for me. 
So far, that's about all to report on this end. Oh, except for the passport. Do you guys have any idea how scary that application is? Okay, so it wasn't bad once I started. But seriously. It's supposed to take you 85 minutes to fill out. In black ink. You'd better not get anything wrong. xP And the photo... *shudders* Whyyy do official photos seem to constantly get the worst side of you? xD
But, oh well. At least they're done. For the next ten years. ;) 

-New blog series?-
So yes. There's a small peek into how my life was this past month. Crazy, wonderful, and blessed. 

That brings us to May. And . . . a new blog post series. Or, at least, maybe. Depending on what y'all think. 
As many of you know, I've been researching a lot on WWII from the pacific side of things as I worked on my camp NaNo project. As I did so, I wondered why I'd never learned any of it before. And how I wished someone had at least given me a bit more thorough of an introduction to it than my 11th grade history class did. It seems that a lot of books, instructional posts, etc., focus on the European theatre. And while I think that is awesome to study, too, I realized how many amazing stories we've missed by glossing over the War in the Pacific. 
All that to say . . . . a blog series on the battle of Guadalcanal? It's one of the main battles of the early war, and one I'd never heard of before. It's eclipsed by battles such as Midway, and Okinawa, or the battle of the Coral Sea. But in reality, it was one of the major turning points in the war. And it's pretty cool to research and learn about. 
So. Now it's your turn to let me know. Would you enjoy a 3-4 part blog series on The Guadalcanal Campaign this month? Each post would include a spotlight of one major battle fought over the island, a list of facts/statistics related to that battle, and also spotlight one of the many unknown heroes who fought in it. Does that sound like something you'd read? Enjoy?

Let me know in the comments! Also, I hope you had an amazing April! :) 

And, this is a bit unrelated, but . . .  last week, my dentist told me that I could help him pull my wisdom teeth. Like, I about fell out of the chair. He'd actually let me do that?! So now I'm looking forward to, instead of dreading, the operation. Which will probably happen sometime in June. ;) His take on it was: "It's gonna look great on a nursing application." We'll see. xD My mom's a bit worried . . . though dad just said something like "good deal", when I told him. ;)

And . . . It's now 11:54pm, but hey, it's still the 4th. So I'm gonna hurry and schedule this before it becomes the 5th. ;P 
Have a wonderful weekend! (If you made it though this post, you deserve chocolate. And lots of it. xP *hands it to you*)