Being Veterans’ Day, I only thought it fitting to devote tonight’s blog to one of the veterans in my family tree, specifically a World War 1 veteran. It’s funny, but my paternal grandmother, Betty Domer, and I had lengthy conversations about her family, including her parents, when I was a small child growing up, but the one thing I don’t recall her ever mentioning was her father, Edwin’s, military involvement. Once I began doing my own family research, unfortunately after my grandmother had died, I found out that my great grandfather served in World War 1. Not only that, he was drafted. Unfortunately that’s all I know about his service, thus far at least. It’s been on my genealogical to-do list for ages now, but one of these days I’m going to devote some time to figuring out as much as I can about his service.
While I may not know anything about his service, I do know several other things about him as a man. My grandmother described him as a kind but stern man, on of those “great to be a round, but you don’t want to get him upset” type men. He was a farmer in his younger days and later had a variety of jobs to provide for his family. The two that really stick out to me were as a carpenter building the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh, WI and as a mortician. Grandma told me more than once that she’d walk from school to the mortuary to get a ride home with her father and how creeped out the mortuary made her. That’s certainly not an experience I’m jealous of. When Edwin died at the age of 73, the same funeral home where he worked handled his final arrangements. What a fitting tribute.
In spite of my not knowing anything about his time in the service, I do know that I am not only thankful, but fortunate that he survived. Had he not, my grandmother, my father, and myself wouldn’t be here. I can’t imagine fighting in a war not knowing if you’d come back alive, and I especially can’t imagine not having a say in the matter. I am so thankful to the men and women (as well as their families) who have served in the military over the past 236 years, but I’m also thankful that those that are serving now have the choice to rather than be forced into such a horrible situation