With gratitude and thanks to my father, Earl Redlin, and my son David Kendall and daughter-in-law Heather Kendall for their service to our country. I am going to repost something I posted last Memorial Day. I am going to add a little more of my father's thoughts after visiting the military cemeteries at Anzio and Florence, Italy.
Today, I read through a 27 page handwritten account of the war years written by my father, Earl Redlin, about 20 years ago. At the end, he writes of his trip back to Anzio, Italy with my mother and other members of the 34th Signal Company in 1985. He was quite moved by his visit to the US military cemetery there. The following is part of what he wrote:
"If there is beauty in a cemetery, then it can certainly be said of our military cemeteries. They are well kept and immaculate beyond description. And for those who have loved ones buried there, they could not ask for a more beautiful resting place. In this cemetery, are 4189 marble crosses of known dead. There are 213 unknown which have the inscription: "Here rests in honored glory, a comrade in arms known but to God". Two crosses mark the multiple burials of two unknowns whose remains could not be separated. Five pairs of brothers are buried side by side. The ages of soldiers buried there was very shocking because most were from 19-22 years of age.
This cemetery has a memorial; and by this time, you ask yourself these questions: "Did this really happen? Is such carnage necessary for the price of freedom? To know that this is only one of dozens of American cemeteries around the world convinces one that there was a great sacrifice by so many.
After 2 to 3 hours at the cemetery, we returned to the bus. Very little was said because we all had a lump in our throats. Sadness of what we saw, reminded us of what we have seen when Vietnam and Korean Veterans visit their memorials and are overcome with grief and love for their fellow soldiers.
As the bus left, one thought came to me: “Those buried here cannot speak - What would they want to say or what message would they want to give to their fellow Americans?” I believe their message would be this: “Tell our country that we loved it so much that we gave our lives for it, and our sacrifices were not in vain. Tell them not to forget us, and to enjoy all the beauty of life we could not have. And if time should erode their memory, remind them again - and again. Don’t forget us”
Tonight when I go to bed, I may hear the drone of a plane above. I’ll go to sleep knowing that it probably is a peaceful plane flying to a peaceful destination without bombs of destruction. This is the security I fought for."
Thank you, Dad, and all veterans. Because of you, we are the most fortunate people on the face of the earth.