Monday, November 11, 2013

“Veteran's Day"..As My Grandfather Was Honored For His Service In WWI

“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.”  President Harry S. Truman 

This Veterans Day we have to say a heartfelt “Thank you” to all service men and women that are with us, and those who have died for us protecting our country so we all can be free. This weekend was a special one for my family. My grandfather was honored for his service at our church on Saturday evening, with a special ceremony to commemorate his service history…….
Louis A. Fiore
He had just enlisted

My grandfather, Louis A. Fiore, died in 1962 from cancer. I was about 7 years old and only remember a little about him. He was a wonderful man, husband, father, and grandfather, but he was also in the Army, and one of the bravest men in WWI. My grandfather was a Corporal in the U.S. Army’s 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division, Company A. He was 17 when he enlisted. (he was under age) He did not tell his mother that he enlisted till after the fact. My great grandmother, Madeline, had 9 children. Five were boys, all of whom were in the Armed Services. One of my grandfather’s brothers was in the Coast Guard, and his other three brothers were in the Army. My grandfather was wounded, (shot in the leg) in the battle at Chateau-Thierry, in France. He was taken to a MASH unit and told the Dr’s to take care of the other soldiers first. He was very compassionate and thought that there were other men that were hurt more than he was. Finally, he had his surgery and was taken with an ambulance to another site. As they were leaving in the ambulance, they looked back and the MASH unit where he had his surgery had been blown up. He received a Purple Heart for his bravery and other medals as well. After his leg healed, he chose to go to Germany and joined the Army of Occupation with his old unit. He wanted to see if any of his Army buddies were still alive and made it out ok. (The Army of Occupation goes into a defeated country to enforce peace and keep order) When he died he was buried with honors in the Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y. As you can see he was brave, compassionate, and fought for our freedom…………..
Louis A. Fiore (1916-1919)
During WWI

As my whole family entered the church, we were greeted by retired service men in full dress uniforms. Their medals and pins shone brightly displayed on their chests. They handed out some information about our Nation's Flag and how to fold one properly. We looked over to the right, and there was this beautiful small table decorated with a white lace tablecloth. On this table were 2 photos of the two men that were being honored for their service, from two forgotten wars. One of the photos was of my grandfather. My mother was later presented with this blown up photo of her father. 

As the special mass and ceremony at our church, St. Thomas More in Hauppauge, LI started, the honor guard brought up the flags, and placed them on the altar. The honor guard was on behalf of the William F. Taylor Post 9486, of the Veterans of Foreign War. (VFW)  They had their uniforms on, and they were very striking. This beautiful mass was to honor not only my grandfather, but also another man, William J. Finn, a Private in the US Army Battery B of the 5th Regiment Artillery 1898 to 1899 of the Spanish American War. His granddaughter, Maryann DeGaynor, was also present to honor his name as well as my mom, dad, and my whole family. After the mass was over, everyone went outside to the flag pole, and the flag ceremony took place. All the Veterans in uniform surrounded the pole as the bugler played "Taps". They then took the flag that was given to my mom at my grandfather’s funeral and hoisted it up on the flag pole. This will be flying on the church’s flag pole in honor of all Veterans. I am extremely proud to have a grandfather who loved his country and defended it for our freedom. Today I honor him on this Veteran's Day. I want to personally thank all of our service men and women, past and present, for their service today and everyday! I pray for their safety and their determination for our freedom. 
Cake my mom had for the
family celebration after the service

Post script: Last summer my mom found a shoe box of letters my grandfather wrote to his mother when he was in WWI. My mom read them to me, and it was like a good book you couldn’t put down. We stayed up most of the night and read through each one. Some of the letters were very sad, and we cried, but others were interesting on how things worked in the Army. They were very impressive as some of these letters were written in the trenches. One particular letter he wrote, told of him writing to his mother by candle light, and then he said he had to close the letter and put out the candle as the troops were moving in. Another one was when he wrote to his mother to tell her that he had enlisted in the army. There were also papers about his earnings, which he sent back home to his family. It must have been really cold at the time, because in numerous letters he asked for a sweater to be sent to him, and we still do not know if he ever received it. I have to say that that evening as we read the shoebox of letters it bonded my mom and I, plus now I also feel I know my grandfather a little better, a brave soul, for sure!  

I want to thank St. Thomas More, the VFW Post 9486, and Jerry Ferrara for making this a very proud and special day for my family. May God Bless America!!!   

Till Next Time……..

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  1. So many memories Dottie!
    And I am sure you were really moved when reading your granddad's letters. My grandma died last week and I have been thinking a lot on how life passes by so quickly from generation to generation!
    We all carry our ancestors genes and even their personalities.
    A lovely post Dottie!

  2. Dear Alida,

    I know what you mean about being moved by reading my post. I think on this day of all days, all of us are moved by our Veterans and the sacrifices they endured for us.

    I am so sorry about your grandmother . Yes, life goes by so quickly, and we don't realize how fast in till we loose one of our loved ones. Sometimes, we are so wrapped up in our lives that we take for granted our lives. that is why like you said, we have to pass down whatever we know about our ancestors and our family background to our families. So we will never forget who we are and where we came from!

    Prayers for your grandmother and your family. Enjoy your day! Thank you..Blessings, Dottie :)

  3. Hi Dottie , your post is quite moving , people so soon forget about our Veterans and people that is still in the service fighting to keep us free .
    My family started a family tree to pass down whatever we know about our family history .
    Dear Dottie , your grandfather is quite handsome . Thank you so very much for sharing . Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Dear Nee,

    Thank you for reading my story. Yes, it was a very moving ceremony, especially for my mom. I agree with you that we forget all who came before us and helped keep us free long ago. The family tree is a wonderful way to keep those we lost still in our lives. I have started one as well. I am very grateful that my mom was able to tell me about the family and have photos, which add to the family tree.

    Yes, my grandfather was a handsome man. Even later in his life when he was older he was still a good looking man. I just wish he had not died before when I was little, then I would be able to have known him more. I do remember he always loved wooden puzzles, not the flat ones, but the ones that made a ball or a square.

    Thanks again, hope you had a blessed day! Dottie :)

  5. Dear Dottie, Thank you to brave souls like your grandfather for the freedom of our country and many places in this world today.
    The letters that you read must have been like traveling in time and getting to know first hand what happened and to know your grandfather. It must have been wonderful but also very sad, knowing what he went through. A wonderful and heartfelt post.
    Blessings dear and hugs, Catherine xo

  6. Hi Dottie,

    I'm sorry I didn't get here sooner but I was at the Veteran's Day ceremonies here in PA.

    I heard so many moving stories today but I must admit, your story really tugs at the heart. How wonderful that your grandfather was honored so beautifully. It is sad that you didn't know him longer but I'm sure you have many of his traits.

    The shoe box of letters must have been so enlightening. Perhaps you should try to envelope them for safe keeping in a family book or scrapbook.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story this Veteran's Day, Louise

  7. Dear Catherine,
    Thank you for stopping by to read my story. Yes, it is so true, there are so many brave souls out there that are fighting for our freedom.

    That is so correct, I never looked at it that way about traveling back in time. It really was especially when it came to how much money he received etc. It was sad some of what he was writing, but some were funny as well, like the sweater, he kept asking for was in quite a few of the letters, but I think he finally received it.(I hope) It was a beautiful ceremony and something I will never forget! Blessings to you, Dottie :)

  8. Dear Louise,
    No problem, I understand. I hope that your celebration in PA. was a nice tribute to our service men and women.
    Thanks for stopping by and your lovely words about my grandfather and my story. Yes, the box of letters were an amazing find. My mom knew there were some letters in the box from years ago and never had the chance to read them. I think it was meant for us to read them now and together. It gives you a different perspective on the War and on how strong my grandfather was to fight for his country at age 17. He lied to the Army and said he was of age. Then he wrote to his mother to tell her that he had in-listed, which must have been really hard for him to do.
    The letters are safe right now in the box, but we are planning on putting them in air tight folders or scrapbooking them. It is our legacy for the family.
    Thanks again Louise, I appreciate everyone who read my story.
    Blessings for a good week, Dottie :)