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Friday, January 16. 2009
Iâ€™m a â€˜cold warâ€™ veteran, too young for Korea and too old for Viet Nam, but whenever Iâ€™m out and about and I see a man wearing a WW II, Korean or Viet Nam, veterans, ball cap, I always stop, go up to him, shake his hand and thank him for serving and protecting our way of life. Â
Two days before Christmas, I was over in Brownwood finishing my shopping and spied a WW II/Korean veteranâ€™s, ball cap and, like I always do, went up to the man and held out my hand.Â He took my hand and accepted my thanks, then, from out of his coat pocket, he removed a paper and handed it to me.Â On the paper was a poem that he had written, a brief description of why he wrote it and his picture.Â This surprised me and I told him about my blog and he said that I could put this on it if I wanted to.Â Everyone will enjoy this!
Robert W Hickeyâ€™s picture shows, among his medals, a Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.Â In WW II he served with the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division on Mindanao Island, P.I. and was wounded on 12 June 1945 at Mandog Crossing in the hills above Davao.
â€œI served with the 931st Engineer Aviation Group on Kadena, Okinawa from March, 1950 until April, 1951.Â The debris of WW II was still scattered all over the island.Â The day the Korean war started we were taken to the rifle range to reacquaint us with firearms, since they knew weâ€™d be going to Korea.Â As we rode to the range I watched the waves of the East China Sea rolling into the shore.Â That night I was assigned Charge-of-Quarters duty which necessitated staying awake all night in the company office to receive visitors and answer telephone calls.Â There were none of either.Â In order to pass the time I wrote this poem, â€œMonuments Of Battleâ€
â€œMonuments Of Battleâ€
â€œThe coral reef still guards the beach
There we once fought to land.
The endless waves still pound and beat
Upon the ageless sand.
The sun still shines upon the palms
And the jungle echoes with a million songs.
The world goes on with life and love
With never a thought to us above.â€
â€œIt was a beautiful place,
This sunny south sea isle,
A land of joy and happiness
When the Gods of peace did smile.
A land not meant for battle fields,
A name known only to a few
That would fill a book of history
Ere our bloody task were through.â€
â€œThe landing craft that charged the beach,
Thrusting through the spray,
Sit and rust upon the reef
Where they were tossed that day.
The rusty blade of a bayonet,
Broken and cast aside,
Lies in the sand and marks the spot
Where a brave man fell and died.â€
â€œAn empty clip from a carbine,
The stock of an old M-1,
The rusty bottom of a canteen cup
Reflecting the light of the sun.
These are our markers, our gravestones,
Our monuments left behind,
That will follow their makers back to the dust
As our deeds fade from the mind.â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, February 14. 2008
My Dad was a good man and a good Dad and he had â€œseen the elephantâ€! He was a character, very colorful, a great hunter and fisherman and everyone should enjoy these next few posts about him.
During WW I, when he was 16, my Dad, John Bryan, ran away from home and joined the Texas National Guard. That particular unit had been called up for duty in France. He was loaded on the train in Waco, headed for overseas training, when his Dad, My Grand Dad, Peyton Bryan, appeared and physically drug him off of the train. It took him 5 years and many letters to finally get a discharge from the Guard so he could join the Marines.
John H. Bryan was his name. â€œWhatâ€™s the â€œHâ€ stand for Johnny?â€ I heard his friends laughingly ask him this many times. Well, when he joined the Marine Corps, the Recruiting Sgt. told him â€œSon, you have to have a middle initial to join my Corpsâ€. Puzzled my dad replied, â€œSgt. my only name is John, but if I need a middle initial make it H, H for hellion.â€
Daddy, as I called him, rose to the rank of Sergeant, E-5, in the Marine Corps and in the 20â€™s was the Marine, Fleet, middleweight boxing champion. My Dad also had combat experience in Latin America during one of the last â€œBanana Warsâ€. He tried to enlist with the Marines on December 8, 1941, but was told, even with his past record, that he was forty years old and too old to serve in the Corps. I remember him being very upset over this!
In the fall 1942 the movie â€œWake Islandâ€ was released and shown at
Continue reading "What's The H Stand For Johnny?"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, December 7. 2007
Especially today, I think it is fitting that I post this story from my family's history.
Since leaving Ireland in the late 1600's, just before the English hangman's noose caught up with them, the Bryan family has always had an urge for new, different things and to keep moving west. Roy Bryan was my Dadâ€™s brother, and my Uncle, and his urge caused him to leave Texas and migrate to Hawaii in 1939. By then, he was already, like his Dad, Peyton had been, a skilled carpenter and there was plenty of work available in the Islands.
My Uncle, Roy Bryan, and a nice Mule Deer he shot near Granby, Colorado. This picture was made ibetween 1948 and 1950, on one of his visits back to the States.Â He was hunting with another Uncle of mine, George Howard, and my Cousin, Milton Howard.
This story was first told to me by Uncle Roy, who was an eye witness to the events of December 7, 1941. Roy passed away several years ago and I believe that his story should be recorded and retold.
AN EYEWITNESS TO HISTORY
How could this have happened? That was the Nationâ€™s question on the morning of December 8, 1941. Roy Bryanâ€™s question was how did I, a civilian, end up in a shallow trench on a beach on the island of Oahu, with a 16 gauge, Winchester, sawed off shotgun, watching the sun come up over Diamond Head, waiting for the inevitable Japanese invasion?It all started on December 6, a Saturday. Roy, 25 at the time, was a carpenter and had been doing some interior work on a Battleship for the Navy where he had become friends with some of the Sailors. There was a big party in Honolulu that night and he was attending with his Sailor friends. He hoped it wouldnâ€™t be an all nighter, because he had also planned to go fishing later in Aiea Bay, eat an early breakfast and sleep most of Sunday.
The party, like all big parties, was loud and crowded, but the
planes kept coming, and when they cleared the hills, he could see they
werenâ€™t the big, B17s, that had been ferrying in, just single engine
planes that didnâ€™t look like the F4Fâ€™s or SBDâ€™s that flew off of our
Carriers. Strange, but as the planes came screaming in, he could
clearly see the red ball on the wings and fuselages, just as the first
bombs and torpedoes were released, their targets being our Battleships
Feeling the concussions from the thunderous
explosions, his first action, with his mind racing, as the Battleships
were being hit, was to get behind a Coconut tree and peer around and
watch the spectacle. He clearly saw the Arizona, or the ship berthed
beside it, being hit and a great explosion and thought of his friends
aboard who had invited him to spend the night with them. The poor guys!
Then, the torpedo planes had finished their work, and along with their
fighter escort, were leaving.
He moved to gather up his gear,
when he heard more planes approaching from the east. More Jap planes
and he snuggled down behind his tree and watched the bombers pound our
Pacific Fleet. The harbor was all confusion, ships exploding and
maneuvering to keep the channel clear, fires raging on the ships and on
shore, sirens screaming and black smoke spiraling skyward! A scene from
hell! And, even though he had watched every minute of the attack, but
for fate, he could have been more in the middle of it and doomed on the
The Japs flew away and Roy thought, we are at
war with Japan. Finally moving off of the beach he tried to drive
toward Pearl Harbor, but the roads were closed. He was stopped and told
to report to â€œsuch in such placeâ€ and await orders. Martial law had
been imposed and he guessed all able bodied men had been â€œdraftedâ€ into
The officials were positive the Japs would invade the
Islands, Oahu especially, and, he was right, all able bodied men were
guarding the beach for the next several nights. No invasion, but the
World and the Hawaiian Islands, along with Roy, would forever change
after that day, December 7, 1941!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 08:45 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, June 4. 2007
I have met a former President of The United States, a past Secretary of State, numerous other politicians, a Medal Of Honor winner, a Jewish man who was held in Dachau by the Germans who had his prisoner number tattooed on his right forearm, a victim of the Batan Death March who was a Jap POW for three years and not met, but watched, numerous German Afrika Corps Troopers behind the wire at an American POW camp in Temple, Texas.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 08:06 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, May 28. 2007
Before I get into todays story, after you read this click on Outdoor Bloggers , www.heartlandoutdoorsman.com/blog/ and look at the new promotions they have on their message board.
Today is Memorial Day, that had its beginnings in 1863, as Decoration Day, when Confederated dead were remembered in the South, with red, white and blue bunting, placed upon their graves. I thought it fitting that I post this story from my family's history. This story was first told to me by my Uncle, Roy Bryan, who was an eye witness to the events of December 7, 1941. Roy passed away several years ago and I believe that his story should be recorded and retold
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 07:00 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, March 21. 2007
Our first trip was with our neighbor, Dave Miller, a WW II veteran and former student at Texas A & M College (now University) and his son Benny, to an oxbow lake off of the Brazos River, south of Richmond, Texas. This was a very â€œprivateâ€ lake being on a large State Prison Farm.
Another Uncle of mine, A. C. Turner, Uncle Ace, had returned from the war and was back working for the Texas Prison System and had arranged for us to fish on this lake. He was Rehabilitation Director and, at that time, the Texas Prison System was self sufficient and even showed a profit. Drugs, illegal immigration and our Federal Courts fixed that! Uncle Ace went on to become Warden of The Walls unit in Huntsville, then to the State Parole Board, rising to its President.
This was my second trip to a Prison Farm. Here, on the Brazos River, the inmates seemed happy and waved and spoke to us. My first was to the German Concentration Camp in Temple, now the site of the V. A. Hospital. These were â€œhardâ€ guys, Afrika Corps troopers. They were sullen and took immense glee that when a plane flew over them, they would raise their shovels and rakes and pretend to shoot at it, then congratulate themselves on a â€œhitâ€!
We drove to the lake, inflated the boat and then â€œtook turnsâ€ fishing out of the life raft. Benny and I went first and learned quickly the art of paddling a life raft. Our first attempt resulted in an inglorious circle! Our fishing results were better, several small Bass, which we put on our communal stringer and we headed to the shore and turned the raft over to our Dads.
Left on the bank while our Dads were working on the Bass, Benny and I caught some grasshoppers and went to bait fishing for Bream and Perch. Not much wind, a real nice afternoon and we noticed a snag drifting near our spot. It drifted up and stopped and quit drifting. Being 9 and 11 years old we thought nothing of it and kept fishing.
Our Dads were headed back our way with a couple of more Bass on the communal stringer and Dave Miller yelled to us, â€œWhatâ€™s that in the water out from you?â€ Being young we answered, â€œWhere?â€ My Dad said, â€œBoys, watch where I cast,â€ as he cast a wooden, Lucky 13 plug, toward us and across our â€œsnagâ€.
He twitched his rod tip and reeled one turn at a time, â€œWalking The Dogâ€ back over the â€œsnagâ€ and the water exploded and a big, it seemed five or six foot long, Alligator, our â€œsnagâ€, clears the water in a twisting, mouth open, teeth showing jump, makes a great splash as it returns and then takes off, at top speed, pulling the life raft behind it. My dadâ€™s Calcutta rod is dangerously bent, he is yelling because the â€œGator is stripping the line from his reel, and having no drag system, only his thumb, which is being blistered, to put pressure on the line and try and stop the run. The â€˜Gator jumps again, the plug pulls loose and comes flying back toward my Dad and, a ducking Dave and settles on the water behind them. â€œWhoopeeâ€ exclaims Dave, followed by a â€œDamnâ€ from my Dad, as both anglers paddle back toward us.
Laughingly, my Dad told us â€ â€˜Gators like to eat little boys if they can catch one and this one was sizing both you all up for a dinner.â€ Silently we packed up the raft in its plywood box and we did not enjoy his attempt at humor!
In a picture box display, in the main hall of my ranch house, are all of my Dadâ€™s old fishing plugs, including the tooth scarred, wooden, Lucky 13 that he â€œWalkedâ€ over the â€˜Gator.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 10:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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