August 22, 2009

A busy week with surprises and accomplishments ...

Last week was definately a very busy week for us, but filled with great things. First my youngest brother Stephen completed basic training at Fort Jackson, SC. SInce it was only an hour away it meant that we would have a houseful for the weekend.

On Tuesday my step-sister Catherine and her husband Randall showed up. After Randall helped us unload some furniture at the Consignment Shop on post and donations for the Thift Store, we took a short tour of post as we headed to the Mexican Restaurnat with George for lunch. Then we just hung out at the house for the afternoon. They had driven through the night and were pretty tired. Being pregnant, I wasn't going to turn down an chance to rest either!

Before leaving for post Catherine surprised me with a tea set! It had a beautiful pink and purple pattern to it.

The next morning my dad arrived. He too had driven all night arriving just after 8 a.m. After getting ready for the day and helping dad unload we headed for a more exploration. We headed for the Signal Museaum on post (my dad is a BIG museum guy). Interestingly, though I'd been to the museum a few time while waiting for George to meet me for lunch at the cafe next door, I'd failed to notice one painting inparticular, one of a carrier pigeon named Cher Amie. Now for those who don't know, my maiden name is "Cheramie" meaning "my dear friend."

The pigeon, Cher Amie, was named a hero in World War I who helped save the Lost Battalion of the 77th Division in the battle of the Argonne, October 1918.

On October 3, 1918, Charles Whittlesey and more than 500 men were trapped in a small depression on the side of the hill behind enemy lines without food or ammunition. They were also beginning to receive friendly fire from allied troops who did not know their location. Surrounded by the Germans, many were killed and wounded in the first day and by the second day, only a little more than 200 men were still alive. Whittlesey dispatched messages by pigeon. The pigeon carrying the first message ("Many wounded. We cannot evacuate.") was shot down. A second bird was sent with the message, "Men are suffering. Can support be sent?" That pigeon also was shot down. Only one homing pigeon was left: 'Cher Ami'. He was dispatched with a note in a canister on his left leg,

We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven's sake, stop it!

As Cher Ami tried to fly back home, the Germans saw him rising out of the brush and opened fire and for several minutes, bullets zipped through the air all around him. The men of the Lost Battalion saw Cher Ami shot down, but he was soon airborne again. He managed to arrive back at his loft at division headquarters 25 miles to the rear in just 25 minutes, helping to save the lives of the 194 survivors. In this last mission, Cher Ami had delivered the message despite having been shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, covered in blood, and with a leg hanging only by a tendon.

Cher Ami had become the hero of the 77th Infantry Division, so army medics worked long and hard to save his life. They were unable to save his leg, so they carved a small wooden one for him. When he recovered enough to travel, the little one-legged hero was put on a boat to the United States, with General John J. Pershing personally seeing Cher Ami off as he departed France.

It was defintely a great story to share with my dad, especially with such a unique connection to our Family.

The next day, my dad, Catherine and Randall drove to Fort Jackson, SC, where we met my youngest brother, Stepehn, (10th of 12 siblings) for Family Day. He's spent his last summer of high school at Army Basic Training. We were so proud of him. We spent the day exploring post and running him around to do errands on his first day of freedom.

The next day (Friday) we were joined by George as we attended his graduation. It was a great experience to watch him and his fellow recruits as they started on this long journey of personal growth and pride in his country. I was bummed thought that I missed seeing him salute George for the first time, since George has put me in the air-conditioned Tahoe and then went to find them. It had been a long two days and I was starting to get tired.

On the way home we stopped by Fuddruckers where we had our fill of amazing hamburgers ... well most of us, I think Stephen has to get used to eating really food again!

Dad and Stephen stayed through Sunday and Dad and George had a great time working on fixing the motorcycle on Saturday. I was very happy to see them puttering about together, especially since the bike, a 1964 Harley Davidson, belonged to George's father. I wasn't sure how he'd react to my dad helping, but Dad was very understanding about it. They were both dirty and covered in oil when they finished, but happy to hear it roar to life.

Stephen even jumped in a little and George took him for a ride.

It was a busy week and I was happy for the chance to rest this week ... but it ended it with its own little surprise. More on that in the next post ...

Until our next cup of tea ...

5 Tea Party Guest:

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Whew! You have been busy :o)

How fun to spend time with family. (I kinda remember you mentioning you are from a big family... my hubby's mom's dad is one of 22...and they were all single births!)

Congratulations to Stephen! and success on getting the Harley running :o)

What a beautiful tea set to add to your collection.

And love the story of Cher Amie (How neat that your maiden name is Cheramie!)

Blessings & Aloha!

(Thanks for stopping by! (We just got home from eating Mexican tonight! haha)

Vee said...

What a great story with a wonderful connection to your family name. It certainly does sound busy there with all the goings on. Congrats to your brother! You'll have to reenact the salute with a picture. Hope that you are feeling much better at this point in your pregnancy.

Sue said...

I sat here and smiled as I read your post, trying to imagine this pigeon completing his mission. But to have his name be the same as your maiden name is so neat. My goodness, you must be exhausted. Hope you get plenty of rest this week...take care of yourself, ok?
It's nice that your dad and George and Stephen worked on the bike together.
And please tell Stephen (I like that name :) thank you for his courage to join the military in these troubled times. What a wonderful young man he must be.
Sue said...

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saleluz said...

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