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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Loss of the Greatest Generation

I hate to steal the line from Tom Brokaw but I admire his work and his tribute to the many veterans of World War II. For some of us World War II is a history that many never have the chance to understand from the point of view of those that served during the war. For that matter, many of the brave men and women that served never talked about it. They did what our nation asked and returned home changed but lived an amazing life none the less different for it.

Our veterans from World War II are fading into the final adventure that is part of life and I think it only just to pay tribute to them for the sacrifices they made when not only our nation needed them but the world needed them. I’ve posted several lost military service people here on Papamoka and I am proud of what I have posted on their behalf. I am truly thankful for all of our military people and when they have a loss so do I in my heart.

I grew up knowing my father served in World War II and in Korea. He never spoke of the horrors of his service till his later years. His later years took him from me but all the books and events he never missed when it came to veterans he passed on to his youngest son. My father and my friend was always a family man first. He lived for his family first and the past was just what it was. Jack O’Keefe didn’t bring the war home to Manor Road, he brought family to Manor Road. As much as my mother made us feel that home was our entire families home, Dad made sure that it was just that by just being our Dad. He wasn’t perfect but he was not a push over for any bull that any of his seven children could pass on at any given time.

While the pages of Military persons that are dying in Iraq or Afghanistan are filling up on the internet I find it kind of ironic that the people that fought to defend the atrocities in Europe are being laid to rest by the thousands every single day without any tribute. If any man or woman that served in any battle or war there is no generation that we as a nation should be more thankful too than the WWII Veterans.

Life is funny, my father never pushed any one of his sons into the military unless we were completely out of control. He cried when he came back home to sign my older brother up for the Navy. He didn’t regret it though. What the child he signed up learned was respect and to this day he knows what that means. If Jack didn’t make that step, our families future and that child’s future would have been very different. That was a very difficult decision and given our fathers experience during war time that he never wanted to see any of his sons experience what he endured that became a life time of pain for him.

Enough of that stuff and here is a tribute to just one other WWII Veteran. I hope and pray that his family does not mind that I post his obituary here.

Over at the Worcester Telegram they have this WWII Veterans obituary…

Robert Thore Gustafson, 88, died Friday, August 24th, at home.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, E. Marcia (Hooker) Gustafson; his two children, The Rev. Lisabeth M. Gustafson and Donald P. Gustafson. Bob was the son of Thore and Clara (Benson) Gustafson. He is also survived by his sister, Margaret Engwall, formerly of Worcester, now residing in Beavercreek, OH. He was predeceased by his sister, Ethel V. Nelson and brothers Walter, Roy, Carl, Ralph "Nick" and G. Herbert Gustafson.

Mr. Gustafson was a lifetime resident of the Worcester/West Boylston area. He grew up in the Quinsigamond area of Worcester. After graduating from South High School in 1937, he joined the Navy, serving throughout World War II. He was serving on a cruiser during the attack on Pearl Harbor and then transferred to submarine duty in the Pacific for the remainder of the war. After returning home from the service, Mr. Gustafson went to work for the New England Telephone Company where he worked for over 37 years.
- Worcester Telegram

Thank you Robert Thore Gustafson for your service to not only your nation but to your family as well. My personal thanks to his family and my condolences on his passing. Our nation and the world is a far better place to live in thanks to the people like him that did what they had to do and did it damn well!

Feel Free to thank a Veteran here...

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