Posted in May 2018

The Ideals of a Nation: A Letter of Gratitude

When he enlisted in the United States Navy, my grandpa, Harold was just a fresh-faced kid. Barely able to vote, he signed up to risk all he had for a country he loved.

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(Harold Barr, 18 years old, 1943)

Having completed Boot Camp, he trained in Basic Engineering and at Diesel School in Virginia. Following that, he trained in what was then known as the Scouts and Raiders, but what we today call the Navy Seals. He told stories of harrowing training, being dropped off at sea, miles from shore in the dead of night with only one objective: get back to base. This perhaps seems especially frightening to me because I’m not a strong swimmer and you know…sharks.

But, he worked hard and soon found himself in China where his unit was sent to train the Chinese as guerilla fighters against Japan. He also did extensive work as a mechanic.

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(Harold Barr, front and center)

Most of the stories he told from his time in China were the antics that he and his buddies shared. One particular incident involved a group of them landing a giant sea turtle and tying it to a cot. Their plan was simple. After dinner, they would take their prize to the local market and sell it for beer money. Sea turtles, it turns out, are stronger than they imagined. Upon their return from the mess tent, they discovered that not only had the turtle found his way back to the sea, but he’d taken the entire cot with him.

It wasn’t long before the war ended in victory for the Allied troops. At that time, it became a job of rounding up the Japanese troops for surrender. Finally, in May of 1946, Harold was honorably discharged.

My grandpa didn’t share stories of great heroism. While his recon missions where dangerous, I don’t know how many, if any of his brothers fell in combat. He didn’t storm the beach of Normandy. He didn’t spend his career climbing military ranks.

What he did was what most kids his age seemed to be doing. They saw a battle for justice being fought and they stepped in to give their support to the cause.

He was strong. He was brave. He was steadfast. He was what America has traditionally been.

Let’s never forget, not only the men and women who have fought and died for the ideals of our nation, but also, let us never forget those ideals. We are one nation. Indivisible. But only if we work together. Let’s not waste the sacrifice that so many have made.

gpa barr funeral 1

(The American flag being presented to my grandma, Lila Lee Barr at the memorial service for her husband, Harold W. Barr; 2015; Kelly Cemetery; Maupin, OR. Daughter (my mom), Teresa in the red shirt.)

 

With gratitude and humility for all who have served,
Brandy

 

(Cover photo by Jakob Owens)

 

Author:

Hi there! While I'm the one who will do most of the writing, I want to introduce you to both Matt and I. We have been married for 22 years and have two children, Evan who just turned 18 and Molly, 15. We also have a little dog named Bella and a cat named Steve. Matt works full time as an x-ray technician for a cast parts company. In his free time he likes to play Frisbee golf, read and watch movies. He also is the lighting designer for our daughter's annual Spring dance recital. He has a Masters in Education and for a time taught both history and theater. I, Brandy, am a stay at home mom, which sounds kind of weird when your kids are this age, but it seems even more critical now than it was when they were younger. I also like to create stuff - anything from bound books to watercolors. I'm also an avid podcast listener. I spend a god deal of time driving Molly to and from dance and hanging out in the studio. As for the kids, Evan is a computer guy and the one we turn to for tech support, while Molly spends her time doing online school and dance. This blog is the result of our desire to start a podcast, talking about the challenges we face as believers as we try to navigate through this world and the culture that influences us. We also recognize that this is not quite where we belong - we have an eternal home with Christ that we long for as we travel on this journey. We hope to encourage you as, together, we grow into the image of God. We look forward to discussing a variety of topics with each other and possibly some guests. This blog will serve as a platform for further exploration of the topics we cover on the show. We look forward to hearing from you!

2 thoughts on “The Ideals of a Nation: A Letter of Gratitude

  1. Brandy this so beautiful. It did make me cry but they were tears of great memories of my Dad. Thank you for telling a part of his story. with everyone

    Liked by 1 person

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