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I remember listening to a video of my grandmother recently and she used the phrase “Decoration Day” to describe someone’s birthday.  I had to look it up because I didn’t know what she meant.  Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was a day to remember those who died fighting in the Civil War by decorating their graves.  It wasn’t until after WWI that Memorial Day became a time to remember those who had died in all American Wars.  Many people today honor anyone who has died, not just those who died in a war.

Today I received a surprise package in the mail.  One of my first cousins once removed found an envelope of things that were about my great uncle George Lineberry and shared them with me.  In this envelope are photos; letters, a pay check stub; birth certificate with the original receipt for purchase; social security card; newspaper clippings; ribbon from his funeral; etc.  Over time I’ll be scanning and transcribing them.

Among the items in the package I received today was a v-mail letter that George wrote to his brother, Leonard from France.  letter 001a

…Well every thing is going as well as expected.  I guess you know we came to France June 5th just after midnight I was in plane 9 so you know I was not very far from the first.  I landed in as fine a bunch of cattle I ever saw.  Plenty of milk and butter, potatoes are 20¢ a lb bread as black as your old hat, the people are better off then we thought they don’t have nothing in town to eat from what I understand.  The most of them wear wooden shoes I am sitting here with a pair on. …I was about to forget this outfit will get the presidential citation.

George served in the 101st Airborne as a paratrooper.  He was killed on September 18, 1944 during the battle at Arnhem, Holland.  This Memorial Day weekend I honor George Lineberry for his service to our country.

letter  003

Among the items in my surprise package was this ribbon from the spray on George's casket

Ray Vickers wrote the following poem and it was printed in Wood Chippings, published in 1945 by Cornish Brothers Ltd of Birmingham.

Arnhem

They left the plough, the shop, the office stool
To fight a cause, to wield a lethal tool:
They left their homes and all that they held dear,
To face a grim unknown with little fear.

Ah those men! Those hallowed men – that faced a foe,
Who strained to crush them dealing blow on blow
With shot, with shell, with belching tank with flame,
They faced it all – to win a deathless name.

‘Men of Arnhem’ Freedom doth proclaim you
As her immortal sons – her precious few:
Your mem’ry e’er will live for you have shown
The way for this sad world to reach her own

Memorial Day Weekend Challenge: Add a Soldier to Footnote.com

Further Reading:

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