This week’s prompt is “Favorite photo,” and since I don’t have just one I chose to pick a theme for my favorite photos.
On both the Beck and Shane side, military service is common thread that stitches both of my families together.
Both grandfathers wore a uniform – John R. Beck and Norris C. Shane.
Norris’ story is he was at the University of Minnesota when he was called up and while on the troop train headed to basic training, the war ended and he returned to school.
John served in the Army Air Corp – the predecessor to the US Air Force – and during his wartime service was promoted to an officer. After the war he was returned to enlisted status as a master sergeant. He told me he was with the units who liberated the concentration camps and “men who had made it through some real hell went outside and vomited.”
My father, Norris David Shane, served in the US Navy and the US Air Force. He retired from the Air Force in the 60s. At the age of 18, he was the commander of an LCVP taking Scots and Canadians onto Juno Beach during the Invasion of Normandy. After the Navy, he served as a jet engine mechanic for the Strategic Air Command and at one time, grounded the fleet because of a defective hose.
My older brother, Fred, served a career in the US Marine Corps and retired as a warrant officer from Quantico. When I was little and Fred was in Vietnam, my mother recalls a friend calling and saying she just saw Fred on television. He served two tours in Vietnam. He wrote me letters while I was in Saudi Arabia and asked if they were still using diesel fuel to burn waste. Some things never change, I suppose!
My older sister, Catherine, served in the US Navy as a corpsman. Family stories are that she is dangerous with a needle and dental floss and I don’t doubt she could still put in a set of fine stitches with the same. As a teacher in Chicago, she has personally walked students to military recruiting offices.
I served in the Army National Guard with the 109th Engineer Battalion out of Camp Rapid, South Dakota. I went to Saudi Arabia in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm and after some service in North Dakota and Utah, I retired on Sept. 10, 2001. Today, I continue my advocacy for veterans with service in the Veterans of Foreign Wars as a post commander and as a district officer.
So, my favorite photo is any that show military service and there are a lot in my family. I have cousins, uncles and other relations who have served in some form or another.
I speak to people all of time who spend time volunteering in their church, feeding the homeless and helping civic organizations.
My family service is the military. That seems to be our calling. My mother says whenever she attends a veterans event she stands up at the beginning when they call for those who have veterans in their family and proudly stands through all the service songs, until the Coast Guard and then she can sit down.
I can honestly say our service goes back to the earliest conflicts and the Shanes qualify for the Daughters and the Sons of the American Revolution.
So, as a Shane or a Beck relation, post your family military pictures in the comments below. Let’s get a true picture of how deep our service goes.