Tag Archives: military monday

Military Monday – Mom Remembers WWII

As I have mentioned here before, my Mother is fighting Alzheimer’s. I try not to say too much on here about it because I want to respect her privacy. But, this is so hard. Everything you have heard about Alzheimer’s is all that and more. I wish there was a way I could make this easier for my Mom, and my Dad but there is no magical pill or a cure and boy does that scare me. Will I be next?  Will it skip me, but hit my children? Grandchildren? We need a cure people!!  I don’t want a single other person to have to go through this.  My family, currently has three people fighting Alzheimer’s.  Can you believe that?  Please pray for all of them!

I usually cook supper every night for them as she can no longer cook. My brother helps by cooking sometimes, but we all eat together every night at my house and while I get frustrated and tired of doing the dishes, I also know that time is slipping away and so are my mother’s memories, so when she is having a good day and she starts telling stories, like what I am about to share with you, I know the dishes won’t matter in a few years. In fact, when I think about it, they don’t even matter now.  I’m very glad to have this time with my Momma and thankful for a steadfast husband that supports me in taking care of them. I wouldn’t trade this time in my life for anything.  Well, except a cure.

One night after dinner Mom, when Mom was having one of her good days, she started talking about the war and I asked her to stop and let me get my recorder and record her, and this is what I got. I put a few photos with it, and some music and I hope you will enjoy listening to her talk about her memories of life during WWII.

After I put the video together, I decided I would make another Project Life page for my Family History scrapbook. This seemed like the perfect thing to do a page about. I was also thinking about this wonderful video, and how could I possibly incorporate it into my scrapbook.  I didn’t want this wonderful video lost in the depths of my computer!

Then it hit me! A QR Code! If you don’t know about QR Codes, you might consider hitting up Google and learning a little bit.  They are on everything these days.   I have a FREE app on my phone called QRReader, and you can go to this website, Unitag and generate a code for FREE!  It cost me nothing to add this to my scrapbook page, and now anytime someone looks through the book, they can scan the QR code, and watch the video on their phone or tablet.  In fact, if you have a QR reader on your phone already you can actually put it up to the computer screen, scan the bar code in the photo below and it will take you right to the video.

So, here is my page.

Mom Remembers WWII

Mom Remembers WWII Project Life Page

I won’t completely depend on the QR Code to work forever though.  I will always include a flash drive in every album with the photos and videos on it, so if anyone wants a copy of anything in it, no digging around in the depths of my computer, all I have to do is get the flash drive from the album and copy them on whatever they want.

I may at some point make a transcript of the conversation to put in the scrapbook, just in case future technology doesn’t recognize our current technology anymore. I wouldn’t want that wonderful story lost forever if the video can no longer be played.

I also made a DVD of the video above for Mom and Dad, and brother John.  I hope they will enjoy it as much as I did making it.

What a great treasure from Momma, in just a whim of a five minute conversation.  Which is the reason my goofy dog Ringo was barking throughout the video, I really didn’t have plans to do much with the video which is why I didn’t shush him, but it turned out great anyway and I’m thankful to have this history to pass down to future generations.

Thanks, Momma!

Military Monday – Normandy France

Guest post by Larry Croon.  Larry Croon’s father,  Lt. Refert Croon served with my Uncle Son, Sam H. Ball, III during WWII.  I have posted about Uncle Son before here and here.


As the son of Lt. Refert Croon, I wish to share my recent visit to France, and recommend to those who have not yet visited the Normandy Beaches — attempt to do so.

View From Dog White, Omaha Beach, Normandy France

View From Dog White, Omaha Beach, Normandy France

One can not fully perceive the scale and scope of the Allied Invasion, without personally viewing the enormity of the geography engaged. The journey had special meaning for me, given the context below:

As a young Lieutenant, my father was a member of the 146th Engineer Combat Battalion, and, as a member of Gap Assault Team #1, which landed at 0633 on D-Day in the DOG WHITE Sector of Omaha Beach.

View From Dog White, Omaha Beach, Normandy France

View From Dog White, Omaha Beach, Normandy France – NOW

They were successful in clearing obstacles and blowing a hole in the seawall, despite heavy casualties, allowing American Forces to move forward up the bluff and counter heavily defended German positions in the area surrounding Vierville-Sur-Mer.

For their actions, the 146 ECB received the Presidential Unit Citation as well as the Distinguished Service Order of the British Empire.

Receiving Presidential Unit Citation

Receiving Presidential Unit Citation

Remarkably, my father went on to win Five Battle Stars from Normandy to Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, but said very little about what he had seen. He passed some time ago, before I could encourage him to return. Yet, I felt my father’s presence walking in his footsteps. The visit to Normandy afforded a lifetime memory for my wife and I.

Engineers Memorial Normandy France


Engineers Memorial Normandy France

I fear the the legacy of the “Greatest Generation” may be forgotten unless our younger citizens are reminded of the sacrifices of these Americans. I was surprised to discover the French have not forgotten, to include their young.

Military Cemetery Normandy France

Military Cemetery Normandy France

D-Day was no exception to the fact that military operations rarely unfold according to plans. Mistakes compounded and it was only the courage, physical stamina and creativity of American soldiers that enabled the ultimate success on Omaha Beach.

On the practical side, believe it best to station your Normandy visit in Bayeux, given its proximity to the critical D-Day locations and the American Military cemetery at Coleville-Sur-Mer. While there, take time to view both the Bayeux Tapestry and Cathedral. The locals will appreciate your attempt to speak some of the basic french phrases, but given the numbers of American visitors, it’s easy to conduct business in English with merchants and at restaurants.

Your journey will no doubt begin at Paris-Charles DeGaulle. Take a few days to acclimate and enjoy some of the major sights in one of the world’s most scenic cities. Prioritize the major tourist attractions you may wish to visit. Same for the Louvre, select the “biggies” you wish to see; otherwise, you could wander aimlessly for two weeks. The French drive on the right, with modern road systems outside Paris, yet maneuvering in Paris could be too much of a challenge with little parking and thousands of motorcycles, along with different rules of the road. A good option is to take the train to Normandy, a comfortable 2 hour ride. While in Normandy, I strongly recommend hiring a Professional French Tour Guide to tailor your visit in an efficient manner which will include transportation.

Oh yea, always carry rain gear.

Larry Dirks Croon
Clifton, Virginia

Military Monday – Danny Gray

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I would like to share this video with you that my cousin Harry Short made about his cousin Danny Gray.

Harry and Danny grew up together in Fordyce, Arkansas.  Danny’s grandmother was Harry’s grandfather’s youngest sister.

Danny had many plans for his life, but he was drafted and went off to Vietnam.

He never came home.

This is his story….

A Heart Touched With Fire from Harry Short on Vimeo.

Thank you, Harry.  This is a very touching story and I’m very pleased to know the story behind Danny Gray, who is NOT just another name on the wall.

He’s a Hero.

Military Monday – Hubert Aaron

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I know that I just talked about Hubert Aaron last week, but when information falls into your lap, you gotta go with it.  I went to the Miller County History Museum in Fouke, Arkansas this past weekend and met with my favorite museum curator, Frank McFerrin.  He offers many books for sale that help to keep the museum open.  I bought one about Miller County Veteran’s and right there on the very first page, staring back at me was Hubert Aaron!  Now I have a good close up picture of him as a young man instead of a child.  I might also add that he’s one good-looking fellow so I know he’s related to us, right??  Here’s what the book had to say about Hubert.

If you happen to have a Veteran in your family from the Miller County area let me know, I will tell you if they are in the book.  If they are, you can do us all a favor and head on down to the Fouke Museum and buy a book to help Frank keep it running.


Military Monday – Hubert Aaron

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Hubert Aaron is my 1st cousin 2x removed.  Since I met with Morris Aaron and learned about Hubert, I often think of him.  Hubert died on Dec 7, 1941.  He was 22 years old and he gave his life on the U.S.S. Arizona in Pearl Harbor.

I was cruising around the website Storycorps.com today and came across this snippet of an interview  that made me think of Hubert instantly.  You can listen to it here:

Frank Curre survived WWII, and in this interview he talks about the bombing of the U.S.S. Arizona.  I can’t imagine what those men went through.  I’m consoled by the fact that Morris told me that Hubert was in the boiler room when the bomb hit, and that he would have died instantly.  I’m relieved to know Hubert would not have suffered in the water as many other’s did.

Morris told me that Jenny Aaron, Hubert’s mother would not rest until she had something to memorialize Hubert with.  She had no closure since his body was never recovered so she insisted on putting up a headstone for him in Sylverino Cemetery, and he shares it with his brother Ruvelle, whom everyone called “Man”.

Hubert made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  I hope he knows that his family is proud, and that we will never forget him.

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