Memorial Day Reflections

Two Farmers
Two Worlds Apart
Two different sides of the war
Two Sacrifices
One Legacy
One American Girl

Emily and Greg\'s Mom, Gert, at the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.

Emily, her ice cream sandwhich, and Oma (Greg’s mom Gert) at the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.

It began with my mother’s father…my Grandfather, John Marker of Bement, IL. A simple farmer’s son turned airforce pilot in World War II. Survived the war and came home to start his family and take over the family farm with my Grandmother, Emily. Together they had four children. He died in 1956 of a heart attack out in the fields of his farm. My mother was only 6 years old. My Grandmother, Emily, became a single mom of 4 in the 50’s. She raised 3 girls and 1 boy on her own. She remarried 21 ears later…in 1977…I was there…I was only 1 year old.

Meanwhile…a world apart, my husband Greg’s, Grandfather, Adolf Kieffer, was a farmer in Germany, and eventually had to become a cook in the army during WWII. He received medals for his bravery…he risked his life to feed the men on the front lines. After the war was over and their town destroyed, Adolf, Olga, and their daughter, Gertrud (Greg’s mother) immigrated to America to start over and give their daughter the best chance they could in life. They settled in Pittsburgh and lived in a church for many years before they were able to afford their own home. Adolf became a butcher. They had two more children, and grew fruits, herbs, and vegetables in their yard. Adolf died in 2000, Olga is still living in a nursing home in Indiana.

Their simple stories and sacrifices made my family possible. To think that they both survived World War Two…came home and started families…set strong examples of hard work and sacrifice. And now they share a Great Granddaughter, my daughter, Emily. Who has every advantage that any child could wish for.  She is an American Girl.

It hit me yesterday…why and how we are able to have this amazing lifestyle. It’s because of the sacrifices, and the bravery of those two men, Emily’s Great Grandfathers; John Marker and Adolf Kieffer.  It realized it while we visited the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. with Greg’s mother and two brothers (visiting from Indiana). Emily was on Greg’s shoulders, eating an ice cream sandwhich. Melted ice cream was smeared all over her cheeks, dripping onto her arms, and on the top of Greg’s hair as she admired the fountains in the middle of a memorial honoring the lives lost in World War II.

Left to Right:  Greg’s brother, Jerry, Greg, and Emily walking to the WWII Memorial

From left to right:  Greg’s brother Jerry, mother Oma, and brother Jason gazing at the WWII Memorial

An American Girl. The sacrifice of her Great Grandfather’s. I could feel them smiling down at us from heaven. Thankful that their bravery sacrifices created such an amazing FREE life for their Great-Granddaughter. They made it possible for her to feel so safe and secure up high on her Daddy’s shoulders eating ice cream without a care in the world.

On this Memorial Day.  Thank you to all who made it possible for this lifestyle that we enjoy. 

Land of the Free…Home of the Brave.