For Heroes Proved

American Flag in the Wind, San Diego, CA   ©2003 Annaliese Cassarino

I have been thinking about my great grandpa a lot lately.  The closer it gets to the Fourth of July, the more I reflect on the sacrifice Papa gave for America. 
Papa was one of the greatest Patriots I have ever known.
He was AMAZING...Courageous... Dedicated

Every time I hear the 3rd verse of America the Beautiful, I remember him
Oh Beautiful for Heroes proved,
in liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved,
and mercy more than life.
Here are some facts about Papa and his Military Service in the Air Force during WWII that I read in his life history or heard from his lips~

*Papa and Granny were married October 10, 1942

*Papa signed up with the Air Force on December 5, 1942 right before the draft, so that he could choose which military branch he wanted

*Papa was sworn into the Air Force on December 7, 1942... the 1 Year Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

*When Granny moved back to Louisiana after being stationed with Papa in Illinois... she found out she was pregnant.

*Papa came back to Louisiana on a 10 day furlough.  When it was time to take Papa to the train station, Papa's brother Warren lifted Granny up to the train window so that Papa and Granny could share one last kiss.  Granny said that, "That kiss had to last me a real long time."

*Papa was shot down twice.  The first time, The Underground got him out...
The second time, the plane crashed into the water.  Papa was severely wounded, and was forced to watch the plane sink in the water with his best friend Randy inside.  Papa was then taken as a Prisoner Of War by the Nazi's.  While in the POW Camp, he was hit in the mouth with the butt of a rifle, and lost some of his teeth.

*At one point the Russian's were coming, so all of the Nazi's bailed out of the POW Camp.  The prisoners were left unguarded.  Papa went into the main office and colored an American Flag that he pinned on his back so that the Russian's would know he was American and not a Nazi.  My grandma still has this tattered and aged drawing, hanging in a frame on her wall.

*By this time, Granny had given birth to a little girl named Kathy, who was two years old when she met her daddy for the first time.

*Papa came home, and he always REMEMBERED why he went.  He had the physical scars, yet  he had a firm belief that America was to be DEFENDED at all costs.

When Papa passed away two years ago, one of my proudest moments (as I tear up writing this) was seeing the young, crisply attired officers folding the flag draped over Papa's grave.  After their precise movements, one of the officers knelt before Granny and thanked her for the service that Papa rendered to his Country, the United States of America.

There are so many that have sacrificed, are sacrificing, and will sacrifice for the freedoms we have.

I am proud to be American

I am proud of the service men and women who serve our country

I am proud to have a legacy that I can pass onto my children so that they understand the history and heritage of this Nation.
It is great and founded on truths set forth by men called of God.

I made these little signs to display, because they remind my of Papa.  I have them hanging up at work, and plan on bringing them to our festivities this weekend.

I hope you have an amazing and safe Fourth of July... and always remember!