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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Remembering a hero

This is my Uncle Frank. He was the second of 9 kids in my mom's family and was the last one alive. He passed away last week at 94 years of age, still living at home and even went hunting this Fall.
He lived in Cadillac,MI, about 2 hours north of me and I had the privilege of attending his funeral. My Dad and step-mom, brother and I drove up together.  It had been snowing and everything was covered in white, making it a beautiful drive.
I knew Uncle Frank was in WWII, and I knew he had some close calls there, but he didn't like to talk about it, so some things I had never heard. In the last few years he had spoken with a reporter, after another veteran had shared his writings, which included Uncle Frank. The story was published in the local paper and a CD was made that I am still waiting to hear.
Here's a few things that happened to him during the war. 
He was in the Battle of the Bulge.  His unit was surrounded and the commanding officer told them that they were on their own and to get out whatever way they could.  He was the only one who made it out alive.
Another time he was with a group of soldiers in a field and they were shot at, several were hit. He played dead.  A German soldier actually took things from his pockets and left him there.
He was in a jeep that turned over and ended up in a hospital in Belgium.  While recuperating there, they were told that the residents of the city were leaving as it was being taken over.  He and another American soldier decided they had to get out of there.  When leaving, they found that the Germans were already in the hospital, and his fellow soldier turned back.  Uncle Frank continued on,and got out by crawling under a vehicle and holding the undercarriage until he was off the property.  He later found out that his friend had been killed.
It's amazing that he survived all that and came back alive.  God had a purpose for him here.
Another story told at the funeral was from 3 years ago.  He was 91, and stayed up until 4 am, praying for a friend who was driving in a terrible snowstorm to pick up his daughter. 
My cousin, his son, played a message on his phone that Uncle Frank had left him after reading Revelations, talking about how wonderful heaven would be.   Now he knows!
The honor guard took part in the funeral, each man saluted the casket, there was a 21gun salute and Taps was played.  The flag on the coffin was presented to his wife.  It was very touching and I was glad that I could be there to honor him.

21 comments:

Jenny said...

WOW, wow wow wow, Mari. This is a wonderful story. How precious these great patriots who are passing on, heroes who laid it all on the line to keep us free. I would love to have attended your Uncle Frank's funeral. Thank God for Heaven and what a glad reunion day it will be. xoxo

LL Cool Joe said...

Wow he sounds like a wonderful man, and now his eternal life in Heaven has just begun. How amazing. He sounds like a very special man. I'm sorry for your loss.

Simply Linda said...

{{{Mari}}} What a wonderful tribute...my condolences and sympathies...many Blessings to you.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

My sympathies for the family...
Such a wonderful life, tho it was filled with tragedies and sorrow. I'm sure he had trauma with all the war memories, but as you said...he had a purpose in life and he survived the turmoil and found some happiness in it all.


RIP

Sally said...

Yes, indeed, your Uncle Frank was a hero. May he rest in peace, and know that he was appreciated. Thank you for your service, Uncle Frank.

xoxo

Betsy Brock said...

What an amazing life! It sounds like it could be made into a movie, doesn't it? Wow. I'm so glad you got to attend his funeral. So sorry for your loss...still sad no matter how full the life or how old. But he is in heaven now and that is the most important thing!

Terri D said...

An amazing man who led an amazing life. Thank you for sharing his story with us, Mari. I always find comfort in thinking about the reunion our loved ones are having in Heaven and I have a feeling your dear uncle was welcomed with an honor guard and a parade.

Linda Eller said...

Thankful for men like him. What a wonderful tribute as it should have been. He lived a long and productive life for sure. I know he is rejoicing in Heaven today.

Laura said...

Those stories are just amazing. Makes me want to learn so much more about those before us. I wish that more of my generation appreciated what all those brave men did before, but I think they're often taken for granted. I'm afraid for my generation and the next because we have become spoiled (myself included) and don't think we should have to endure any of the hardships that those men so willingly went through to protect our country. So thankful for Uncle Frank and those like him.

So glad you were able to go to the funeral and remember him and celebrate his life!

Karen said...

The men of Uncle Frank's generation were a special kind. We owe a lot to them. These are incredible stories that need to be told and remembered. Thank you for sharing, Mari.

Doris said...

What a legacy! Great is his reward.

White Lace and Promises said...

Oh wow! What an awesome story and a tribute to a great man! Priceless! What a celebration it must have been. A military service can get to me like nothing else!

Carrie B. said...

What an incredible man!! Sounds like he sure lived a full life! Prayers and blessings to you and your family Hon. Long good life, or not, saying good bye is still difficult. Hugs. xoxo

Arlene Grimm said...

How inspiring! A life well lived.

Amy at love made my home said...

Obviously an amazing man who lived a long full and fulfilling life. So sad that he is gone, and my condolences to you, but it did well didn't he. xx

Jean Stauffer said...

It really brings me to tears when I hear stories of what our service men and women experienced and could hardly talk about afterward. I still have not had the opportunity to have that conversation with my dear daughter-in-law Jenn who was a medic in Iraq for a year (before Sam ever met her.) I know she experienced and saw some horrendous things, and it's not a conversation we can just casually have, especially now that there are always little ones around when we're together.

I'm so glad you could go to honor your uncle. What an incredible man!!

Saija said...

thank you for sharing Mari! these stories, known only to your uncle's family and friends - known always to God ... i wonder if we will share stories in heaven too? your uncle is now a soldier at rest ... ((hugs)) to you ...

Brenda said...

Wow! What a remarkable life, seeing God's strategy for him along the way.

Cherdecor said...

I am so glad that you got to go to your Uncle Frank's funeral to hear about his life. Laura really nailed it in her comment. The young people today do not admire these men nor the selflessness with which they served. I will tell you why.....

When I was teaching 4th grade in MCDS, they used public school texts. The Social Study texts that my students used incited anger against the government of our country. I remember one day after reading about how the government had run a farmer off his land and had shot his cattle, my student said with lots of distain, "WELL, JERKS!!!!!" The text was full of stories against the government. Never one time did it tell about the history of our country. Didn't even mention the Transcontinental Railroad and many other facts. Now we wonder why our children have no respect or regard for the government or for rules.

As I was reading about your uncle, it brought to mind another man whom Billy Graham made a movie about.....Louis Zamperini. It is unimaginable what these men went through and came out alive! God was certainly with them.

Thanks for writing about your Uncle. You will never forget him or his story even though he couldn't talk about.

Deb said...

An awesome tribute to an awesome man. Thank you for sharing this. I am sorry for your loss and pray that your family will feel God's love and comfort.

Kimberly Hoyt said...

How wonderful that at least some of his stories came to light. What a blessing and encouragement to the family!