Memorial Day Tribute: We Enjoy it All Because of What They Did

Written by Steve Bowers on May 24, 2013

And speaking of Hitler, I must confess I never liked the German people because of memories of that Purple Heart on Dennis’s wall. That is, I didn’t like ‘em much until I learned I was descended from some. That’s right, our family, on Mom’s side, bore the same name as Hitler’s favorite composer.

get-attachment (1)Those Wagners during the Civil War were members of the Indiana 14th Mounted Infantry. They were dragoons who got places on horseback and then fought on foot. They were a father and son team, although in different companies. The son was a lieutenant who on almost the last day of the war suddenly came face to face with Nathan Bedford Forrest and watched as his Captain charged Forrest and engaged him in probably the last saber duel fought on horseback in America … maybe in modern history. Forrest was a killer. He personally killed thirteen men in single-handed combat. Most of those thirteen were during the War, but not all. Most of those he killed in the War were the enemy, but not all.  My ancestor took over the Captaincy a few days later. Forrest had vacated that position.

Dad commanded a Stuart tank in the Pacific late in the War and his older brother was a cook’s mate in a warship in the Pacific. Mom’s childhood sweetheart was killed in Sicily. My cousin Jason just died and he spent the last decade of life blind due to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam (maybe they painted the guardhouse walls with it, because, by his own admission, he spent considerable time there).

Friends have told me what it was like in the war they fought. Some of the stories dear pals have told me are horrible, particularly when you remember they experienced them while they were in their teens.

I never served, but I am so proud of those who did. If not for them there would be no architecture, music, literature, agriculture, industry or anything else we call American. And there would be no Freedom.

They aren’t forgotten because they and what they did is unforgettable.

self-portrait_drwg_3-1 (1)Steve Bowers grew up on a farm in Indiana, attended Indiana University and went into the construction business. While working on a construction project at a law school he was appalled at how lawyers could screw stuff up on a simple building project. Thinking he could do better, Steve went to law school. He’s pretty naive

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Steve Bowers
Steve Bowers grew up on a farm in Indiana, attended Indiana University and went into the construction business. While working on a construction project at a law school he was appalled at how lawyers could screw stuff up on a simple building project. Thinking he could do better, Steve went to law school. He’s pretty naive.