Memorial Day is set aside to honor those who served our country and died while serving. It's meaning runs deep when family members are among those remembered.
Our family has many veterans, but only two who have been killed in action.
Family Members Honored on Memorial Day
My uncle, Guy Richard Coplin is top center, he was KIA on May 19, 1944, over Gavensleben, Germany. Guy was Staff Sergeant, Engineer/Top Gunner in a B24. All crewman were lost on that mission.
The picture below Guy is of his grave in The American Netherlands Cemetery near Margraten. We visited there in the Spring of 2012 while on a family vacation. I was the first relative to visit his grave, and it was an emotional day for all of us.
Guy's picture hung on the wall of my grandmother's house and was in the care of one of my cousins. She sent it to me as a gift earlier this year. My wife, Kim, had one of our pictures of Guy's headstone turned into a canvas print as a gift. Best. Gifts. Ever.
He volunteered to serve after the 9/11 attacks.
We never met, but all that I have read about him indicates that our country lost a great person, an exemplary service member, and a father-to-be.
So, to Uncle Guy, Bryan and all of America's service members who have died protecting this nation's freedoms and the freedoms of those around the world, thank you.
We owe our freedom to you.
More Family Members In Service
Additional parts of the picture include a “Z” flag from the USS Duncan, DDR 874, which my step-dad, LTJG George Schwert served on during WWII as a “Plank Holder” and Communications Officer.
The “Z” flag (used for communicating with other ships) is a battleship ship “Z”, so it is HUGE. It replaced the Duncan's which was destroyed in action.
George cut it from the hoist rope when he left the ship for the final time, and the anchor clip with some of the rope is just out of view at the bottom left.
George passed away September 18th, 2006.
The American flag is for my dad, Fred Jennings Coplin, who served stateside during WWII.
He was on his way to Europe, and may have been a part of the D-Day invasion forces when Guy was killed. As the only remaining son, his orders were changed to keep him in the States.
My dad served in the reserves following WWII, eventually attaining the rank LTC. He passed away in July 1974 and the flag was presented to my mom at his funeral.
His name patch, dog tags and the Bible he carried are in the case, and the shells from the 21 gun salute at his funeral are behind the flag.
We Owe Our Freedom to Our Veterans
President Harry S. Truman said in his address to congress in April 1945: “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”
To those who gave their lives in defense of America, and to their families, thank you.