Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day tribute

When he was in 4th grade my grandson, Iain, wrote this Veteran's Day report about his grandpa. Since today is Veteran's Day I thought it was a good opportunity to share it on the blog. Bopa was very patriotic and liked to fly the flag on holidays like today. He used all sorts of fancy knots to secure the flag, however, and I don't know how to make them let alone get up on the ladder and hang the flag. Our flag is one that we requested from our Senator and it flew over the White House. Very special to all of us. Thank you to all the Veterans!

Bopa aka Farfar in his World War II uniform

This is my Grandpa Tony. He was in the United States Army in World War Two. He served from 1943 to 1946. He went to Holland and Germany. He was the Communications Chief for his group*. He made the radios and telephones work. Sometimes he ran the movie projector so the soldiers could watch movies. Most of the time he had to sleep in barns or barracks in a sleeping bag, on top of straw. He slept on an army stretcher to keep out of the mud. He was always cold and wet. Once while he was sleeping, an airplane shot the roof off of the barn he was in. He didn’t get hurt because he was covered with hay. That was a scary experience for him. He didn’t get wounded while he was a soldier.

The antiaircraft artillery battalion’s job was to protect the soldiers from being shot at by airplanes. They moved from place to place protecting different groups of soldiers. In Holland they guarded a radar station. In Germany they guarded American soldiers who were destroying steel factories that the Germans were using to make weapons. They also guarded a bridge near Berlin on the border between the British and Russian territories. The Allied planes had special secret codes they had to give to my grandpa’s group if they wanted to fly by safely. One day a plane didn’t give the code, so they shot it down. It was an American lieutenant. He got out of his plane safely but he was very angry. He thought he was too important to have to learn the codes. Another day they saw one of the first jet airplanes. It flew by so fast they didn’t get a chance to shoot at it.

Lucerne, Switzerland

After the war ended, it took a long time to send all the soldiers home. My grandpa visited many places while he was waiting to go home. While he was in Paris, he heard the news that Hiroshima, Japan had been bombed with an atomic bomb. The soldiers could take college classes while they waited to go home, too. My grandpa went to Switzerland and took classes at the University of Fribourg. He went hiking in the Alps. My grandpa said the Army food was “pretty good” but the people in the towns didn’t have a lot of food to eat. In Switzerland he had to eat a lot of mushrooms. Now he doesn’t like mushrooms. I liked listening to my grandpa’s stories and seeing his pictures.

Three McKay veterans: my grandpa is on the right. His brother John is a World War Two veteran, too. His father, my great-grandpa Morgan McKay, was a World War One veteran.

John Q. Cannon

As an added bonus we also have a fairly rare picture of Bopa's grandfather, Col. John Q. Cannon, in his Rough Rider uniform. He fought in the Spanish American War and knew Teddy Roosevelt.



* This was the 379th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion

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