Remembering our Veterans … Freedom is not free

Veterans Day – memories of the past are very real today and I’m remembering all of my family who served. I wonder if the brave warriors had not fought if we would be living as free as we are today. We have the right to chose how we live, where we live, and where we work. Most everyone has food and clean water and warm blankets and a place to sleep. Many places around the world don’t have these privileges. This freedom is so precious men and women have given their lives for it.

My grandfather, Eldon Lowrey, was a foot soldier in France during World War I. He told stories about marching behind the men on horseback till he thought his legs would drop off.  He said they had to keep up with the horses. He was especially fond of telling about the time a Frenchman stopped his wagon and invited some of them to hop on and ride a while. He developed a love of champagne while he was in France. His doctor became his dearest friend when he prescribed one glass of wine every evening. About once a month, he would ask us to get him one bottle of champagne for medicinal purposes. He kept it in the garage because my grandmother didn’t approve of any alcoholic beverages and would not have it in the house. We tried to convince him that it went flat after opened and that some of the other wines would hold better, however, nothing would do but champagne, no matter how flat! He was a special man, my grandfather. And I remember…

Thoughts of my second husband, Ray Groezinger, and the stories he used to tell me are flooding my mind. He was not quite eighteen when World War II started in the 1930s. America was not yet in it. He tried to go to Canada with some of his buddies to enlist in the Canadian Armed Forces, but his mother would not sign the papers for him. As soon as he turned 18, he and a couple of his friends signed up, America was now in the war. They were sent to Pensacola, Florida for flight training. It was very different in those early years, they signed up with the stipulation they could resign at will. Try that one today! They were trained to fly open cockpit planes. These three friends formed a life-long love of flying. He and his three buddies were flight instructors at Luke Field in Arizona during the war and were frozen there—flight instructors were vital.

My dad, Homer E. Hayes worked for Dallas Power & Light Company during World War II. He tried to enlist several times, but was not permitted to leave DP&L. The electric company was allowed to freeze a necessary crew of men to keep the electricity going in Dallas, Texas. He tried many times to be released, but never was. It always bothered him. He felt he was not doing his duty to his country.

My first husband, Bill D. Kerss, served in the Korean War. He was a G-2 agent stationed at the News Center in Kansas City. During that time nothing could be released to the newspapers, radio, or television until it had official clearance from the military. Security was tightly controlled. His service here in the states didn’t feel any different from having a regular job—except for wearing the Army uniform and the time periods he was gone! We enjoyed our time in Missouri, but were glad to get back to Texas. My childhood sweetheart, friend, lover, and father of my daughters died in 1977. And I remember…

I’m also thinking about my brother-in-law, Ernest Lueck, who was wounded in Korea, but always felt lucky that he got to come home. Many didn’t. I remember one of the Christmases he was there when the family packed a metal trash can filled with presents for him. It was full of warm clothing, food and treats. This happy, laughing man lived until 2010. And I remember…

My cousin, Gary Morris, is a Marine and veteran of Vietnam. He carries many scars, both visible and invisible. He went to Vietnam a happy, laughing young man and came home with a sadness and pain that has never left him, scars of the mind. The two of us are the oldest in our families, the last holdouts of our generation. And that’s a sobering thought!. And we remember all the members of our family who fought for freedom…

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s more important today than it was several years ago so I’m repeating myself. Please pay attention to what is going on in our country today and stand up to those who want to change America to be like other countries of the world where people are not free. It’s important to know the principles on which our country was founded, not just to know them, but to oppose those who want to change them.

It’s important to enforce the laws of America. They are there for a reason, not to harm, but to protect and preserve the freedoms of American citizens. It’s important to welcome all who come into our country legally and stop supporting those who come illegally.

Study and learn about the price your ancestors paid for the freedom the United States has enjoyed. Learn about the founding fathers of our country, what they believed, and the reasons they came and settled this country. The cost was great. Then pay attention to the world today, to the erosion of the morals and values that all these valiant men and women fought for and are still fighting for.

I believe Gary would join me in saying to everyone in our great country, don’t let the hard-fought-for and cherished freedoms of America disappear … the American way of life has been unique in this world. I challenge you to preserve the heritage all of our ancestors fought and died for.

Oh, yes, memories cloud my mind today of the valiant men in my life, but also of a time when the world was more innocent, when a man’s word had meaning, when men could run their business the way they wanted to, when children could walk home from school alone safely, and of a time when no one had to lock doors …

We must never forget the cost of freedom…

 And I remember …

About Betty Kerss Groezinger

Betty Kerss Groezinger, a native Texan, was born in Dallas. She was a legal researcher for President Harry S. Truman in Independence, Missouri, taught business courses at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri, and on her return to Dallas, she worked for more than a decade with advertising agencies. She has been a resident of Irving, Texas, since 1965, and is now working on the sequel to The Davenport Dilemma.
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6 Responses to Remembering our Veterans … Freedom is not free

  1. Betty Slackney says:

    Betty, Thank you! I love hearing about your family and their service to our country. How grateful we should be for all the men and women who have sacrificed greatly for our freedom! We definitely need to be watchful of how our country is going today and be willing to stand up to preserve all we have been given.


  2. gary says:

    Betty, I can’t remember what I said initially, but I will say first I am proud of your continuing writing. gary


  3. leska valerius says:

    Thanks, Betty!


  4. Reg Robinson says:

    A great article Betty.
    I also remember my uncle who endured 3 1/2 years as a POW of the Japanese. He survived the Bataan Death March, many months in the Philippines, and more than a year as a slave working in a copper mine in Japan. After returning home, he obtained a degree from the Citadel, eventually establishing a small business, and lived to be 76.
    From your friend, and fellow resident at MacArthur Hills, Reggie Robinson


  5. Linda Thompson says:

    Betty, What a beautiful tribute to the men in your family who served and fought to keep our country free. They would all be proud of you and how you have honored them and our country. Too many in our country today definitely don’t honor it and cherish it the way the USA deserves. Thank you for your encouraging words!  I always enjoy reading whatever you write. God Bless You and God Bless America, Linda


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