Author Topic: My Cousin Jack  (Read 562 times)

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pop pop

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My Cousin Jack
« on: December 14, 2017, 09:45:02 AM »
He passed away about this time a few years ago. I was thinking of him this day.

Let me tell you a war story about my cousin Jack. I spoke at his funeral. He lost it in later life. He was a model citizen up until the end. His family did not understand him. I tried to shed some light on his military times.

He possessed every medal the Army gave, except he never was awarded "The Medal of Honor." He was awarded the French and Italian equivalent.  Was given 9 purple hearts. He fought in North Africa against Rommel. The outer rings of his ears froze off in the winter time battle of the Argon Forest, in Germany.

He was a good man up until he lost it, the last couple years of his life. His wife told me he never slept over 2 hours per night, without medication, which he would not take because it made his head unclear for most of the next day. She said he drank pots of coffee, read books, and listened to country music for most of every night of his life. He drove an over the road truck for years. He told his wife he needed to be alone to learn how to live with himself for what he had done.

When I spoke at his funeral, there were 12 WWII vets in attendance. I told the family that their were not words to make them really know, and their minds were incapable to really understand the things Jack seen, and went through, for the 4 years of the war he served in. I  looked out into the crowd, and the brother that told me about Jack service was in tears. 

That brother told me that Jack was 15 when Jack joined, but lied about his age. He could not pass the weight limit and an induction Sargent, in Ashland Ky, told him to go to a local store owner, and he would help him. The man filled him full of milk and bananas, so he met the limit to get in. He accomplished everything he did, during the war, by the time he was 19 years of age.

A few are left who know what he seen, but very few. I admired him greatly and I am glad to say he liked me. When I was awarded a medal, for service in Viet Nam, he cut the article out of the local paper and took it to my dad. Told dad we were from good stock. Made my dad proud.

I really did not know his Military history until his death. He never discussed it. He only talked to one of his brothers, shortly before the end of his life. His brother told me.

I spent many nights with his son on their farm in Eastern Ky. I fear there are few like him in this next generation.

After speaking at his funeral, all the surviving WWII vets in attendance came by, several in wheel chairs, one by one and thanked me for what I said. Many had tears in their eyes, and so did I. Every one of them went to the cemetery to be with their brother in arms, as he was laid to rest. Several had to be helped to stand at attention, and salute, as the trumpeter blew taps.

It was the most moving burial I ever witnessed.

Jack Claud Reed was the most decorated Kentuckian of WWII. What A Man! May he rest in peace.

M1911A1

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Re: My Cousin Jack
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2017, 02:24:56 PM »
"...Told dad we were from good stock."
Obviously the absolute truth, Roger.
It still shows.

You and I both like to do things for people, to make some small part of their lives better.
That's what "good people" do.
When your cousin Jack joined the Army well before he had to, he was trying to make things come out better for everybody else.
And that's what you're doing, when you worry about security and protection, both for your family and for your fellow worshippers.
Steve,
retired leathersmith and practical shooter


"Qui desiderat pacem, pręparet bellum."

Robert Harvey

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Re: My Cousin Jack
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2017, 09:58:11 PM »
thankyou
Time will tell.

crzyjarmans

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Re: My Cousin Jack
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 04:45:26 PM »
Pop pop, thank you for sharing your story, both you and cousin jack are true hero’s in my mind, may he Rest In Peace, and May you have peace in your life today and forever, I treasure and admire all who have served our great nation to help protect our way of life and freedoms, thank you for being a hero
Shawn, Stay armed, Stay safe

pop pop

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Re: My Cousin Jack
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2017, 05:23:43 AM »
Thanks guys, but I am no hero. Just glad to have known this good man, Jack. I was glad to say his family got a measure of comfort from the remarks I made at his farewell party. Those hero's just never discussed their memories, (turned out to be daemons for some) after that war. I truly believe had it not been for them we would not be enjoying freedom, as we have known it, in our day in time. We owe them much thanks. Sad most of them are gone, but that is life.

This hero experienced "hell on earth" in the 4 years he was in the war, in 4 major theaters of WWII. Even spent time in "Patton's Army," whom he admired greatly after the war. Jack's bravery was extraordinary, which is an understatement. I told those who met there that my war experience was miniscule compared to his.  All I can say is what a man. It is almost unfathomable to know what this man did in the war, and then came home to be the model citizen he was for most of his life.

Thankfully, in later life, he did get to go back to some of the places he fought and revisit the past first hand. He was treated like royalty in both France and Italy, where he was awarded their equivalent of the Medal of Honor. His wife said it was good for him to revisit and face some of his daemons.  She noticed his spirit seemed to be at peace, for a while afterwards.  After he got dementia, life went downhill for him, as one can understand. His last couple of years were what his grandchildren couldn't understand. He fathered one son which became his life. My words were directed toward the grandchildren. I was told, sometime afterwards, I got through to most of them.

On a side not the guy who preached the funeral, was his son's best friend and neighbor, and my best friend in school. I had not see him since graduation in 1966. Sadly he died shortly after Jack's funeral, cancer, and I never got to see him again.
Thanks for your nice comments guys.

crzyjarmans

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Re: My Cousin Jack
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2017, 06:42:09 AM »
Thanks guys, but I am no hero Just glad to have known this good man, Jack. I was glad to say his family got a measure of comfort from the remarks I made at his farewell party. Those hero's just never discussed their memories, (turned out to be daemons for some) after that war. I truly believe had it not been for them we would not be enjoying freedom, as we have known it, in our day in time. We owe them much thanks. Sad most of them are gone, but that is life.

This hero experienced "hell on earth" in the 4 years he was in the war, in 4 major theaters of WWII. Even spent time in "Patton's Army," whom he admired greatly after the war. Jack's bravery was extraordinary, which is an understatement. I told those who met there that my war experience was miniscule compared to his.  All I can say is what a man. It is almost unfathomable to know what this man did in the war, and then came home to be the model citizen he was for most of his life.

Thankfully, in later life, he did get to go back to some of the places he fought and revisit the past first hand. He was treated like royalty in both France and Italy, where he was awarded their equivalent of the Medal of Honor. His wife said it was good for him to revisit and face some of his daemons.  She noticed his spirit seemed to be at peace, for a while afterwards.  After he got dementia, life went downhill for him, as one can understand. His last couple of years were what his grandchildren couldn't understand. He fathered one son which became his life. My words were directed toward the grandchildren. I was told, sometime afterwards, I got through to most of them.

On a side not the guy who preached the funeral, was his son's best friend and neighbor, and my best friend in school. I had not see him since graduation in 1966. Sadly he died shortly after Jack's funeral, cancer, and I never got to see him again.
Thanks for your nice comments guys.

Sorry to disagree, but this statement is why you are my hero
Shawn, Stay armed, Stay safe