Friday, November 11, 2011

Land of the Brave

My earliest European ancestor came to Maryland in 1660, settling on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. My most recent immigrant ancestor came to Pennsylvania in 1734. There might have been a Native American in there somewhere but it was so far back, we have no verifiable information.

My people were movers. Every generation the youngsters in the family moved on, settling in strange new territory. They were the pioneers—the ones who established new settlements, faced the dangers of wild animals, hostile tribes, and starvation and illness. They built small log homes, cleared land, and planted crops. They were the men who sat on juries, took their turns as the sheriff, and the women who reared children with little more than a washtub and an iron pot.

From the beginning, the men went off to war when they were called. Generation after generation they fought for the principles they believed in from before the Revolutionary War to the post 9/11 conflicts. According to the RW and CW pension records, they walked long distances, took part in battles, sometimes were wounded and received little recompense for their trouble.

In the early times in our country, there were no supply lines for the soldiers. Uniforms and weapons and food were provided by their family. Battles were fought on home soil in towns and across farmland where people lived. In the pension record for one ancestor, his actions are described. As a very young man (sixteen), he led British soldiers on a wild chase across the country-side so they wouldn't find the American soldiers sheltering in his barn overnight. They'd arrived the evening before to fetch fresh meat for their camp. If the British soldiers found them, they would also know his family was supporting the rebellion.

There is much talk today about soldiers and sailors, about our veterans who have kept our country safe. I just want to point out that courage doesn't always wear a uniform. Sometimes it wears a skirt or overalls. Without the families at home, keeping things going, there wouldn't be many veterans.

On this Veteran's Day, let us also remember the support team.


1 comment:

  1. That's true - there's always the partners, kids and famililies who follow the drum. But remembrance day to me is always about those who fought, maybe won, maybe didn't but they tried to do what they believed was right.