Ever since Nov. 11, 1919, the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, Americans have recognized the service and sacrifices made by service members in the cause of freedom.
Most families in this country have had at least one service member; many are traditional military families.
In my own family, we have a long lineage of soldiers dating back to the Civil War. I will share the names and actions of the family members I know have served and encourage you to do the same. Please feel free to add pictures or comments to this article; it's the best way I know to recognize and honor those that have fought for all our freedoms.
World War I:
My great grand uncles Max Polak and Wallace Alexander, as well as my great grandfather Val Ove were overseas in World War I. Private First Class Val Ove was in the headquarters of the 57th Field Artillery, attached to the 32nd Infantry "Red Arrow" Division.
Private First Class Max Polak was also in the Red Arrow division, a member of Company K of the 127th Infantry Regiment. On Oct. 5, 1918, his squad was caught in a shell hole and unsuccessfully fought off a German counterattack near the Bois de Gesnes in France. Max was killed defending his buddies from the Germans and was posthumously awarded a Silver Star for his actions.
Private First Class Wallace Alexander was from Arkansas, and saw service overseas with Company A of the 153rd Infantry Regiment, part of the 39th Division. His division was broken up to fill gaps left by casualties in other regiments. He served overseas and was discharged on March 14, 1919.
World War II:
As is the case with many families, members of the Greatest Generation answered their country's call and fought in the Second World War.
My grandfather James W. Ove was a Specialist in the Navy and taught survival swimming for aviators who could be shot down over the Pacific Ocean.
Second Lieutenant Arnold H. Sobczak flew P-51 fighters in the 4th Figher Squadron of the 52nd Fighter Group in the Mediterranean Theater. He was credited with one German fighter shot down in 1945.
Technician Fifth Grade Jerrell Johnson served in Company B of the 743rd Tank Battalion and landed in a Sherman tank on D-Day. He was later awarded a Bronze Star. He supposedly was the sole survivor of his tank when it ran over a mine during one point of his service.
My great uncle Frank Alexander was a sailor, and served on many ships during the war, notably the USS Tolman, a "tin can" destroyer minelayer. Tolman and Uncle Frank were at Okinawa, where Japanese kamikaze attacks were decimating the American fleet. Tolman shot down five enemy planes, sank eight enemy torpedo boats and helped resuce survivors of a stricken minesweeper.
This is the extent of my family's participation in the defense of our country during wartime, to my knowledge. If you or a loved one served in war or peace, please share a little of their service details or a picture so we can honor and recognize all of our nation's heroes.
I want to personally thank each and every veteran that comes to Canton-Sixes Patch. It is because of you I get to do what I do every day, and the sacrifices you and your buddies made will not be forgotten!