Monday, May 25, 2015


Our veterans, past and present, deserve our thanks, and so much more.  Today, in the United States, it is Memorial Day.

Today, the genealogy website has free access and you can look up military records for anyone in their database.

I looked up my grandfather on my mother's side and found (definitely) his World War II draft registration and (possibly) his World War I draft registration.  For the first time in my memory, I saw his signature on the World War II document.  More intriguing, I found his town of birth - something I never knew - but it doesn't seem to exist -"Altsandas, Austria" - another mystery for a later date. (I am not sure what country it is in today, but it was Austria-Hungary when he came to this country around 1903).

I then looked up my father's World War Two enlistment record and found this.  After the war he worked for several years on Governor's Island, part of New York City, where his enlistment took place.  What I know of his enlistment is that he was already considered disabled (a childhood illness destroyed his hearing in one ear) and had tried to enlist without success.  But, by 1942, we needed anyone who could serve.

State of Residence: New York
County or City: Kings[Brooklyn]
Enlistment Date: 6 Aug 1942
Enlistment State: New York
Enlistment City: Fort Jay Governors Island

Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life
Education: 2 years of high school
Civil Occupation: Semiskilled occupations in manufacture of miscellaneous electrical equipment, n.e.c.
Marital Status: Single, with dependents
Height: 69
Weight: 130

More memories.  Why would my father have been single, with dependents?  Because he helped to raise his youngest brother after his mother died.  Just as he raised me after my mother died.

These documents may not show much, but they can still tell a story.  You just need to be creative to read and understand the story.

In honor of all vets (including my father, who received a head injury in his military service, and my husband, who is a peacetime vet) I also offer these local military monuments in our area.  

Endicott, New York, a few miles down Main Street from where I live.

Veterans Memorial statue.
Plaques commemorating the war dead.  An American flag is kept,fresh, on each one.

The war memorials - World War II, which my father served in (in the Army Air Force) as did one of his brothers, and one of his sisters.

The Korean War. When I grew up it wasn't a "war", it was a "police action". But the people were just as dead.
The forgotten war, Vietnam, where our dead were dishonored and our veterans were mocked - a sad thing I will never forget. Both of my next door neighbor boys (growing up in the Bronx) served in 'Nam, as did other young men I grew up with.

Binghamton - part of the Korean War monument on the Broome County courthouse lawn.

Finally, the Revolutionary War monument, also on the Courthouse lawn.

Are you a vet? Are there vets in your life you wish to honor, no matter which country?  Please leave a comment.


  1. A war veteran stands for discipline, self-respect, pride in his unit and his country, a high sense of duty and a lot of self confidence. It is a privilege to be a soldier and you must be so proud of the heroes in your family! Respect for them!!

  2. I don't have any veterans in my family, but I love watching Memorial Day celebrations and I salute all those who fought for their countries. We have a little ceremony in our town too. I live in Piscataway, NJ.

  3. Both my grandfather, my father all my uncles were veterans. I honor them and all veterans. They did more than we'll ever know for us.

  4. Must go over there and see what I can find out about my grandfather. I'm not sure if he served in WWII or not.

  5. Such an important day to honour veterans. Wonderful post.

  6. Great post, thank you for honoring this day. It's so easy to get caught up in BBQing and the fun aspects of the holiday, you sometime forget to put it all back into perspective of what the day really stands for.

  7. My husbands grandfather served the Indian Army for years. It's all stories and pride for us. Salute the war heroes.

    Tina from The Sunny Side of Life

  8. Oh ya being part of national history through ancestral connection is a great moment in any one's life. Be proud.

  9. I don't have war veterans in my family but I do respect their sacrifices and their heroic deeds.

  10. It's fascinating to see how other people lived in days gone by. Nowadays, nobody would raise their siblings. Here in England, Social Services would be called to take them away. I often think people were stronger back then.

  11. This is a very different kind of post I read. Pictures added glitter to the write up. Good work .

  12. Wish I had known about the military records. Have a few ancestors I would have liked to look up. I have a son and a son-in-law in the Navy. Once upon a time I was a navy wife. I really enjoyed the pictures you displayed in your post.

  13. Here in NZ we honour our veterans and soldiers on ANZAC Day April 25. Thanks for sharing your family with us. God Bless.

  14. Being the daughter of a war veteran myself, I so appreciate when they are honoured, Alana. You must be a proud daughter - your Dad left you a wonderful legacy of service and caring!


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