Today is Monday, July 14, 2014

Memorial Days of many descriptions

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By W.H. WATERSAs a veteran of World War II, I sit down to remember many people. Surely Memorial Day is a day to remember veterans. Certainly those who died in battle gave their all. As I was on a ship that brought many home from battle, I must tell you that many of those were in a condition that made you believe they knew not what was in their future. I am saying to you that all giving was not equal, but the individual did not make that decision in most cases. Sure some chose the more dangerous services. Men in general faced great challenges. I believe most had fear and yet they stood firm and walked into whatever necessary to do what was necessary to protect their country, buddies, and our way of life. Heroes rose from circumstances and the average man might rise to just such a status. Few men started out to be heroes but many rose to be men of valor when it was either fight or fail. In life we all rise to meet the challenges of our world. In the Great Depression, my mother and father sought the battle of rearing and educating four children. They had two major objectives. First, we were taught to love God and our fellow man. This they not only spoke of, but modeled it for us to see. The second goal was to see that the four of us had a college education. They did without and surely put us first. They walked hand in hand in this. In a day when many girls did not go to college, my four sisters were going! My parents did not want them to be unable to support themselves should it become a necessity. The four of us loved one another. This is still true even though two of us have gone home to glory. Our brother, Hugh, graduated from Vanderbilt in 1933. He spent many years in education and made vital contributions. I volunteered for the Navy in World War II. I was sent to Purdue University and graduated after the war. I went to Midshipman School and onto the Pacific before graduation. My sister Martha now lives in Dallas. She went to George Peabody College and became a teacher. She married Joe Shepherd and life has gone well with them. She and I attended a funeral recently, which I will relate to you. Our sister, Nora Ann Waters Wright, died recently. I know she was 80 years of age, but she was our “baby sister.” Age was her only claim to being a baby. On Oct. 10, 1929, when I was in the first grade, I got up to go to school. As I ran through my mother’s bedroom, she grabbed my arm as I went by her bed. She said, “Climb up here and see what I have.” I did and there was a pretty baby girl. I can still see her plainly. You know, the four of us were all born at home at Tuckers Crossroads. Nora Ann was an unusual child. I do not remember her ever being severely punished. She would plead for Martha and me when we were in trouble. The three of us grew up together. In spite of a few spats, we all loved each other. As the years passed, I went to war. Martha went to Peabody College; Nora Ann was at home with parents who were not young. They worried about me and so did my sister. When I came home she needed more freedom and activity. She and I developed a closeness that remains with me. She appreciated my attention and I knew she loved me. Shortly after, she met Olney Houston Wright of Mt. Juliet and from that came a beautiful family and a beautiful life. They had three children. Jim Wright, of Cullman, Ala., who is a minister. Nancy Wright lived with her mother and took care of her. Bill Wright was a National Debate champion. Harvard offered him a full scholarship, but he chose to go to Emory University. At 18 he got cancer and died at Vanderbilt Hospital. He was the most unusual boy and showed us how to die with grace and faith. Nora Ann and Martha went to Peabody. They served as secretary to Dr. Windraw at the Demonstration School. I had the Navy and G.I. bill. We all worked. Nora Ann had Alzheimer’s. As she faded away, it was hard to believe. I knew that it was no mistake – God took her home to glory. She fits so well there, for she was loved.Editor’s Note: Mr. W.H. Waters is a resident of Lebanon and a contributor to The Wilson Post.
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