Sunday, June 15, 2014

When the Soldiers Come Home


Photo Credit: "Burst of Joy" is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph by Associated Press photographer Slava "Sal" Veder, taken on March 17, 1973 at Travis Air Force Base in California
In Love Comes Home, my new Rosey Corner book, the story starts with the surrender of Japan and everybody celebrating the news that the war is over and the "boys are coming home." Then later in the book, there are homecoming scenes. That's why I asked readers who might have homecoming stories of their own, real ones and not fictional ones like mine in the book, to share those with me. A couple of weeks ago when I wrote about the passing of my husband's Aunt Annie, I included a coming home story about when her husband made it home from World War II. I actually used hints of her story in one of the homecoming scenes in Love Comes Home. That story also touched Judy as it reminded her of the homecoming of her husband from Vietnam. Here's her story. 

"When my husband was in Viet Nam ,we were newly married. I wrote and mailed a letter every day(2 on Sat. for Sunday). I had the last letter in mail box, since he was to be home in 1-2 wks. I had an appt. to get my hair fixed, knew what I was going to wear. I told him in the letter I'd eaten onions but they'd be gone before he came home. I didn't hear his voice, and had one 3-way call in 15 months. I was so happy ..and that very day, he came home. He'd gotten an early plane out and hadn't slept in days. He came in, at the nearest airport and went to where his Dad was working, and he brought him to my parents, where I was living...I was so shocked...and very happy, onions and all...we went to visit his Mom, and went to a hotel, and he was so tired and sleepy, he knocked out..was I glad...because it was as if he had changed so much...he was much changed and for the second time I fell in love again even more than I was....I thank God he made it home.. 46 yrs ago."

Thank you for sharing with us, Judy. I'm sure that memory still is as bright today as it was then. 

I went out on the net to look for a picture of a Vietnam homecoming and found the one above. This is not Judy or anyone I know, but a photo taken of the homecoming greeting of one of the POWs who were released after the war. The picture tells it all and it's no wonder it won a Pulitzer Prize for the photographer. The link here to War Tales tells the story of a World War II veteran, Russell Ogan, who also served during the Korean War and was still in service when the Vietnam War ended. Here's what the retired Brigadier General said after looking back on his three decades with the Air Force. "Taking the prisoners out of Hanoi was the highlight of my career." You can read the rest of his story at the War Tales link. I'm sure he had some great homecomings of his own during his service to our country too. 

Remember, the giveaway contests are still going on until the end of June. Get details for my website giveaway on my News & Events page and you can throw your name in my blog contest hat (picking 5 winners of one of my books) by leaving a comment on one of my posts here in June. Please leave a way to be contacted if you want to enter the contest. Each comment on a new post gets you a new entry in the blog contest. One entry per person in the website contest. And you have to be 18 to enter.  

8 comments:

  1. I love homecoming stories but I've noticed that there aren't that many of them from a kid's point of view. So I thought I would share one my own story of when my dad came home from desert storm. I don't remember much of the war, I was only four or five at the time. I do remember that it felt like dad was gone forever. Mom helped me write a letter to him every week he was gone it was hard to keep in touch this was before skype and twenty two years later dad still has all of the letter I wrote.
    Even though I don't remember much I do remember them getting off the plane and I remember breaking free of my moms arms and running to my dad not knowing I wasn't really suppose to do that. By the time I reached him he had already dropped his dufflle bag and was kneeling with his arms opened ready to hug me. I'll never forget that moment.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Carissa. I could see the moment perfectly and it brought tears to my eyes thinking about you running to meet your dad after he was gone so long. And also that he kept your sweet letters. I'm sure that's a moment he'll never forget either. What a great story to read on Father's Day. Thanks again.

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  2. That's a sweet story from Carissa.
    The Vietnam era makes me feel a little nostalgic as that is when I came of age. Lived through all those day and the bad times. So would absolutely LOVE to read a "coming home" story. Thanks, Ann, for sharing yourself with us.

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    1. Loretta, coming home just sounds good when we say it, at least for those of us who had happy family relations. All the good sounds better. I enjoyed Carissa's story too.

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  3. My Homecoming Story happened on May 6th 1991. My husband and brother both served in Desert Storm, both medics, rode in the same truck,during their tour.My husband got to come home a week earlier than my brother because they sent some home a little early to get things ready for the rest of the unit. My husband got chosen because we had a baby born while he was gone and they wanted him to get to meet her as soon as possible. Homecoming Day here I stood ,excited as could be with our three children, Johnathan age 6, April, age 4 and Meagan 10 weeks.They all had chicken pox ,spots everywhere. We were all so happy that he had made it home that a few spots didn't dampen out spirits at all! He always said it was easy to find us ,he just had to look for a red head and three polka dotted kids!!!
    Lisa Bragg, lisa_g_bragg@yahoo.com

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    1. Home to the chickenpox. That's some story, Lisa, but I'm sure he was glad to be there and see those sweethearts whether they had spots or not. Sounds as if he has good memories of that homecoming too and a good story to tell about looking for a redhead and three polka-dotted kids. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

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  4. Love the homecoming picture. It tells a story without words. My homecoming story isn't war-related. I live a distance from my family and flew in to see my mom. Not only did she meet me at the airport but my nephew and his fiancée at the time were there, too! I was so excited as my nephew lived in Texas and I didn't get to see him often. That nephew is now married with three of the cutest little boys and even though I don't get to see them very often, it is a grand reunion at Christmas when we gather to celebrate! I love homecomings....Linda
    dmcfarl101(at)juno(dot)com

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    1. Right, Linda. You can see why it won a Pulitzer Prize. Excited joy. The homecoming for those POWs was even more wonderful than the regular soldiers. Some of those men endured several terrible years and may have thought they would never get home. But all homecomings can be good. Just seeing that face you love waiting for you and then the extra bonus of getting to see someone you didn't get to see that often. Christmas is always a great time for catching up with family. Got you entered again. Thanks for your comment.

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Thanks for joining the conversation. I like hearing what you have to say. Thanks for dropping by.