U.S.S. UTAH – Remembering

One family’s Memorial Day:

A photo taken from the forward deck of the U.S.S.  Utah  –  (1918)

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Perhaps it was the Viking in my Grandpa’s heritage that made him choose the Navy.   That water rolling over the deck stirs the blood!

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My Grandpa was off to fight The War to End All Wars.   The Great War.   The War to Turn Back the Huns – who marched towards world domination and threatened the freedom of citizens in Europe.      Woodrow Wilson was elected on the promise that he would keep America out of the war – did you know that? –  and Americans believed him.   But he was a world socialist at heart,  a believer in one-world government,  and so we all – collectively –  fought for that particular common good.   I’m not angry about that war.    Those issues belong to my grandparents and great-grandparents.

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All I know is that my Grandpa thought he was doing a good thing, and so he became part of the crew assigned to the U.S.S. Utah.   In these pictures he was on his way to France to supply the battleships.   He had some “duty time”  in Paris, that I’m sorry I never thought to ask him about.   Instead, I asked him  what he and his friends did on the ship.   He told me he spent most of his time on board below decks –  a waste of far-seeing blue Viking eyes, in my opinion.   He worked with dangerous and dirty machines in the dark, but the real danger came from the German boats that had the U.S.S. Utah in their sights at times.

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These are  some of his friends.   I can’t decide if my Grandpa is in this picture.

Why did they go?  They were protecting their families back home.

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And I think they truly were.   Dictatorships had arisen.   Was it worth it to fight against Napoleon?     Was it worth it to fight the Franco-Prussian war and prevent a German/Austrian takeover of Europe?   Was it worth it to fight against the ambitions of Hitler?     My Grandpa and his friends would have thought so.

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Life was waiting for them back home – if they made it back home.   The girlfriend was waiting for him.   Good, pure, moral, loyal, and capable of running their future home and raising their future children.    Together,  they made it through many serious difficulties and dangers, but they worked hard and became a family

And when that happened,  then many years later,  my Grandpa could tell me some things about those days of war.

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My Grandpa and many others made it home safely.   The U.S.S. Utah was safe for a while.  And then it was sunk – at Pearl Harbor – at the beginning of another war.

So, this is one family,  one person at least,  remembering the dangers and sacrifices the men of our military made to keep us free and to give us a life we call “normal.”

 

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