MAY 29, 17 .. MEMORIAL DAY 2017 .. PART 1 of 2

Long Pause. A Very Long Pause. As an Epilogue, this Post kind-of, sort-of, got-away-from-me and took on a life-of-its-own.

Is it proper to  say .. “Happy Memorial Day.”

I don’t think so. I will put it thusly ..

Let’s remember our veterans on this MEMORIAL DAY. 

Written in the Red of the Blood shed for all of us by so many veterans.

I now sit here at 80-years, 8-months, 24-days of age.

To this point in my life, and maybe it will change, but I seriously doubt that it will ..

The one absolute and very BEST DECISION  of my entire life-to-date was made in January of 1958 when I ..

Made the decision to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.

I had very successfully completed 3-1/2 years (7 semesters) of education at the University of Michigan. I stress that I was nowhere near being a risk to drop-out for reasons even remotely related to any educational or classroom failures.

It was January the 28th, 1958. I was home for semester-break. It was dinnertime. Four of us were sitting at the dining table in my home in Royal Oak, a Northern suburban of Detroit, Michigan. Looking due North, I was sitting directly across the dining room table from my father. My mother was on my (East) right. Directly across from my mother was Judy Lakin who I thought that I was going to marry. Judy was sitting on my left.

The stage is set. Scene 1. Act 1.

We were just about finished with a dinner we never finished.

“Dad?” I said “Are you going to ride the train downtown tomorrow morning to your office?”

“Yes Cap why do you ask?”

“I was wondering if I could ride into downtown Detroit with you.”

“Sure Cap. I’ll be happy to have you ride along with me. Are you going to do some shopping downtown?”

“No Dad. I have enlisted in the Marine Corps. I ship-out to Marine Corps Boot Camp in San Diego, California, tomorrow. I have to report to the Detroit USMC recruiting office in the morning.”

For a few seconds the clock stopped. Time suddenly stood dead still. None of us moved a muscle. Then my father exploded!

“You dumb shit!” .. He yelled at me as he stood up, threw down his napkin onto his dinner plate and stormed out of the dining room.

To his eternal credit I must add that he had paid-in-full for the 3-1/2 years (7 semesters) that I had been attending the University of Michigan. No doubt he was upset at having spent a small fortune that, he must have felt at the time, I was throwing-away. Further he may’ve been thinking (and I will never know, the two of us NEVER discussed this entire incident) .. “The least you could’ve done was to get your commission Cap and become an Officer.”

He reappeared loudly stating.. 

“You are disinherited!”

“Um-m-m-m cool Dad.” I thought silently. I am your only child. You are an only child.  

He again left the dining room. I am not able to remember what my mother and Judy Lakin said or were thinking. Like I said, we never finished dinner. THAT I remember.

My father served in the United States Coast Guard Auxilary during the war years, 1941-1945, and maybe beyond. He boarded ships traversing the Detroit River to inspect them and the crews for any national security issues that they might present.

I can tell you, when I made the above announcement, he was obviously NOT brimming with patriotic pride that I was going off to serve our nation.

All is swell that ends swell.

It took about six years before he watched me, my having acquired a wife and two children in the meantime, living in the slum clearance housing PROJECTS in Downtown Detroit, working at three jobs, graduate with TOP HONORS attaining my Engineering Degree. He said to me, “Cap, I never thought you’d finish your education. I am really proud of you son!”

In early July of 1964, I was proud to be accepted into the United States Navy as a commissioned officer (Ensign) in the CB’s. Dad was very proud of this accomplishment. 

Where was I here and where was I going? Got it.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Today, Memorial Day 2017, I took the time, and I went to the effort to go back out to the Southern-most reaches of Pueblo to re-enact my experience when I entered Pueblo on May the 20th.  I did NOT shoot the below photos as I first entered Pueblo a week ago. I snapped them today, Memorial Day 2017.

To get to Pueblo from Trinidad, Colorado, I drove North on Interstate Highway 25 (I-25).

We are now East of the Rockies and into table-top, flat, prairie-land.

Pueblo, Colorado ..

After I passed the above sign and drove another mile or so, I came upon some sort of Pueblo City Monument off to the right side of I-25. Below is what it looked like to me as I came upon it. It sits directly below the United States flag and three other flags to the right of center in the below photo.

Of course, in real time, Saturday the 20th, I did not know this monument was coming when I was driving into Pueblo. It is off the Interstate on a frontage road and so I passed it by BUT, because I drive somewhat slowly, I certainly noticed it sitting out there. Driving past it, I thought that it said something very special.

As these photos accurately show, passing the monument was just sort of a blur. And even today, as I captured these photos, I could not clearly read the wording of the monument.

As it disappeared into my rearview mirror, I said to myself ..

“I am going to drive back during my visit to Pueblo and I will inspect this monument.”

So out and off I went this very morning to examine the monument. It was a job. One exit (Exit 95) was an absolute dead end with no return on-ramp even close. I finally found my way back onto I-25 and a few miles further South I realized that I was at my destination. I exited I-25 at Exit 94. I turned left and going East I crossed over I-25 and then turning right and driving South on the frontage road I found my Pueblo City Limit Monument.

Whew. WHEW.

It was indeed very special!

Below are the words on the Pueblo, Colorado, City Limit Monument.

P U E B L O

THE HOME OF HEROES

THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR

Below I am both happy and I am also proud to show you several close-up photos of the monument.

I am feeling just a tad ‘teary’ and a small shiver just went up my spine posting these photos of this most special monument.

When you exit I-25 heading North to go downtown to the Pueblo City Center you see the below view of Pueblo.

In the heart of downtown Pueblo, Colorado, is a most special attraction. One that I have visited several times during my stay here.

It is located both outside of, and inside of, the Pueblo Convention Center.

HEROS PLAZA .. NATIONAL

MEDAL OF HONOR MEMORIAL

“Ten Hut Gyrene! Snap to Attention Jar Head!”

I had a friend who was awarded the ‘CMH’ (Congressional Medal of Honor) as it is called in the slang of the Military Service. I was curious IF his name would be ..

“Present and accounted for SIR!” .. Gee this is a teary experience!

WHEW. This was emotional. This was very personal.

WHEW. Let me tell you all again that this is turning out to be a very ‘teary’ and emotional Post.

My friend was a Roman Catholic Military Chaplain during the Vietnam War. He earned his ‘CMH’ doing things that Military Chaplains do not ordinarily do! You know, like getting out amidst the live firing of ammunition tending to severely wounded and dying soldiers and Marines. Giving ‘last rites’ and so on and so forth.

NOT ALL ‘CMH’ recipients die in battle. Some survive. He was really bitter about the Vietnam War and I believe that he returned his ‘CMH’ to the Department of Defense. This was why I looked for his name.

Down by the Pueblo Riverwalk there is another very  ‘patriotic’ organization.

THE CENTER FOR

AMERICAN VALUES

Below, so you can more clearly see the three above ‘sentences’, are close-up photos.

Below is a link to their website IF you so choose to further investigate the Center.

http://www.americanvaluescenter.org/?page_id=8

Well the time has come to call it a day on this Post. It has been quite a day working on it.

I hope you remembered some of our veterans on this MEMORIAL DAY.

My father and my two sons all served in the United States Military Service. So, as a family, I feel that we pretty much have the military bases covered.

Dad (USCG)

Cap (USMC and USN)

Robb (USA)

David (USAF) 

2 thoughts on “MAY 29, 17 .. MEMORIAL DAY 2017 .. PART 1 of 2

  1. patricia boone

    A very touching, emotional post, and this IS a day rightly set aside for remembering and honoring those who sacrificed to serve, and some sacrificing with their lives. This post was a nice tribute! Love, Patti

    1. cap chastain

      As usual, as ALWAYS, Thank You My Dear One for your thoughtful comment. YOU especially KNOW, from having lived it, about the military and its effects upon families because of your Dad’s WWII and (I believe) Korean War experience(s) in the United States Navy. I so appreciate your support in proof-reading my Posts when your time permits. Love, Cap

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