Today we will smoke a brisket and have friends over to eat and fellowship. Shay and Lindz will be here and I will thank Shay for serving in Iraq with the Oklahoma National Guard.
Growing up in a resort town, Memorial Weekend was a day to kick off the busy summer season. The weekend was always busy with thousands of motorcycles filling the small valley town. It was so busy and crazy, I never had much time to think what Memorial Day was really about. But today, I will think of those who have served their country and those who have given their all.
Earlier last week, I attended a family funeral where I saw some cousins that I rarely see. At one point the conversation turned to my great uncles' military service in WWII. One cousin said that my uncle "Carl Matney was one of the most decorated soldiers of WWII along with Audie Murphy." I thought that was quite a statement. Uncle Carl's son confirmed the statement and promised to send me more info concerning Uncle Carl's military career. He did say that his dad had invaded Italy at Salerno in 1943 and fought his way across Italy into France, Austria, and into Germany. You can Wiki the Italian Campaign for more on that or you can Wiki Audie Murphy. In the meantime all I could find was this poorly written obit:
During World War II, he served as commander of Company G, a rifle company known as "Matney's Raiders."For his valor and leadership in battle, Capt. Matney earned the
Purple Heart with Cluster, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver
Star with Cluster, the French Croix de Guerre, the Italian Military
Valor Cross and the Combat Infantry Badge.After the war, Mr. Matney was made commander of the First Battalion near Stuttgart, Germany.
At some point while fighting across Europe, Uncle Carl ran into his little brother, Homer Matney. I bet that was quite a reunion. As a little girl, my mom would tell me some of the war stories she had heard about her uncles. Although Uncle Carl did not like to talk about the war, there is one story that I remember and that my cousins retold at the funeral last week. It seems that my uncle and his men were trapped in a loft somewhere in Europe in a town they had held, but the Germans had taken back. One of his men asked him, "What are we gonna do?" My uncle replied, "When it gets dark, we are gonna climb out of this loft and march right down the main street and out of town." And that is what they did. They walked out and down the main street and the Germans let them rather ensuing a big fire-fight.
Uncle Carl came home and was an educator in Amarillo, TX. He died in 1999 at the age of 83. My Uncle Homer is 92 years old and lives in the VA retirement center in Lawton. He played professional baseball and was quite the athlete in his day. All six of the Matney boys were handsome and athletic. A couple of them were real heroes. Here is a picture of Uncle Homer and his wife Doris who have been married over 65 years - taken at the recent funeral.
Here is Mom and Aunt Mildred, who is 90. She was married to one of my favorite uncles. Uncle Jack was a Seabee - there isn't anything he couldn't build or put together.
Of course, I always think of my Uncle Bobby on my dad's side of the family. I love Uncle Bob like no other uncle. He did three tours in Vietnam including the Ia Drang Valley. I will think of him today and remember him holding his hand on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, touching names of those lost in the war.