Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Patriot

Some of the "campers" at Camp Lake-in-the-Woods

Hello friends,

As many of you may know, I am married to a fellow who served 25 years in the US Air Force. We loved the military life, with the opportunity to move all over the world...which we did...the chance to meet new people...which we did and have so many wonderful friends and fond memories...the high calling of serving our country is also one of the benefits of military life! We belonged to a community of people who were very different in many ways to include origin of birth, education, family and religion. We lived in the middle of America in both Kansas and Indiana, the "west" of Nevada, the northwest of Idaho, the east of New York and the New England of Massachusetts...and the south of North Carolina. We love every last bit of American soil, all is amazing and beautiful and the people we met and places we visited added to our lives in ways beyond measure. We were also fortunate to live overseas. Paul was assigned to Adana, Turkey (Incerlik CDI..."common defense instalation") in July of 1974. We had moved the family back to Kansas so the children and I would be close to family while Paul completed an 18 month "remote" tour of duty. Sarah was just 6 months old, Amy was 3, Matt was 5 and in kindergarten. Hey we were all just kids really...both Paul and I in our 20s. Turkey invaded Cyprus that same month and a "hold" was placed on Paul's orders....history has a way of getting involved in our lives. Nixon was resigning....what a time! Eventually, they figured out they would need Paul in Turkey and he left in August. By October we were assured that God wanted us to be together in Turkey and we began a process from both ends to complete this reunion which happened in April of 1975. Fast forward to July 1975....Turkey had to retailate when America, forced to make some kind of punishment for the invasion of a NATO ally by a NATO ally, cut off military aid to Turkey. The Turks took over the military base taking down the American flag. You have no idea what it feels like to loose sight of the flag and realize you are on foreign ground. We were a small group of Americans the end of the line as regards to mail, food supplies, medical services and entertainment. We had an elementary school. Older students were sent to boarding schools in Italy. We had a hospital that did have a maternity ward and women from all over Turkey came there for deliveries....but that ended and so pregnant women would spent the last month of their pregnancies in hospitals in Germany. All our meat came frozen, our eggs from Israel. These were minor inconveniences. (don't get me wrong, we did gripe...alot, but we were all in the same boat, it was part of the cost of being with our active duty spouses) I must admit I felt as if I was on the adventure of my life!!! wow...Cathy from Kansas City....out here in the middle east of all places with camels and strange looking sheep, people and!!! It was exciting and a bit dangerous and thrilling. Anyway, back to the flag...that was a big deal to me. Uncle Sam is fairly good at helping those of us overseas to have some of home no matter where we go...the BX, PX, Commissaries, NCO and Officer's clubs....etc. you might say we are a bit spoiled because where we are sent, there are services in place to make us feel more at home....and for that I am thankful and totally aware of the benefits of being military as opposed to those who are living overseas without those types of support! Well, it is July 1975, we are going to celebrate with a small parade on the base and a kind of carnival and picnic. No fireworks, but we will get together with everyone American and have some red, white and blue fun. All of us were there just about and we learned the Turkish base commander was allowing the raising of the American Flag for a brief moment...what a concession to us. All eyes focused on the flag as it was slowly raised to the tunes of the Star Spangled Banner as we sang no eye was dry! As the song ended the flag was lowered. Here we were in a foreign country and seeing that flag made us all once again remember patriots from long ago at the founding as well as those from across the years who joined the 20th century as we patriots served America too. That was quite an experience.

Less than 30 days later our family was out of Turkey and living in Germany...but that is another story.

God Bless America!




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