Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering Family Veterans

Thank you to all veterans, past and present, for your service and sacrifice. It's always a sobering day, remembering how many have served and died defending our country.

In my family, I thank my father, Maurice Finnell, who is happily, still with us at almost 94, who served at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, during WWII. I like this picture of him on leave at home in New Jersey one winter, where icicles behind him threaten to fall any second. He's wearing his army issue coat, which he still has and can probably fit into again!

The second picture is of my late uncle, Benjamin Kaufman, who served in WWI. Uncle Ben won the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Croix de Guerre, among other medals, for bravery in the Argonne Forest in France; you can read a little about him here and even more, here. He was an Executive Director and National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans, and was honored throughout his life for this achievement. Uncle Ben was a modest man and elderly by the time I came on the scene, and I so wish that I could have talked to him with an adult's sensibility about this seminal event in his long life. He traveled all over the world with his beloved Dorothy - they were a fabulous couple, devoted to each other, who worked hard to improve the lives of veterans and the disabled, and were the heart and soul of our family. I miss you both so much, Aunt Dot and Uncle Ben.

I have been updated by a cousin and want to remember my late uncle Albert Finkle, who also was a WWII veteran. My cousin Joel Popkin is a veteran of the Korean War at Fort Benning, Georgia, and his brother, David Popkin, served in the Army Dental Corps.


Anonymous said...

beautifully expressed.

My Dad served in the UK during WWII and supported the invasion on D-Day. Veteran's aDay and Memorial Day were always very important to him.

A few years before he passed the local grammar school asked my father and a few of his buddies to speak to the students on Veteran's Day. That event was very important to those Vets. I hope that somewhere, some school has reached out today.

OvertheTop said...

Thank you, Kevin, for your comments...very poignant. Wow, your Dad was there for D-Day - how amazing. What great stories you must have heard; I'll bet the students were impressed, though it's so hard for kids to relate to events so far before their time. I have always been a WWII history nut and will drop everything to watch a new doc on TV but I can't imagine many very young folks doing that. Dad is so nostalgic for that era, as your Dad must have been. :)