My nephew, Isaac Spethman has always been an innovative young man, wanting to work from a young age, which we were all proud of, but also found to be really cute thing for a little boy to want to do. Isaac hasn’t changed much over the years, other than his size of course. He is still in the process of shaping up to be an excellent young man, and one who makes us all proud.
Isaac isn’t perfect, of course, what boy is, or girl for that matter. He plays rough with his siblings, Xander, Zack, and Aleesia, and fights with them too, picks on his little sister, Aleesia. Kids can be enough to drive their parents crazy sometimes, but they are also a very rewarding part of life. I don’t know one parent who would trade one minute of fighting for peace and quiet.
Isaac started wrestling this year and seems to excel at it too. He won his first match. Not bad for a new wrestler, but then he does have brothers and I know they do a lot of wrestling, although probably not the legal kind. Isaac is quick, and seems to be able to break out of a hold pretty easily. I know he will have a very successful year, and while I wont be at the matches, I’ll cheer him on from home. Have a great year Isaac.
Recently Isaac has been asked to be an usher at church. It is a job he takes very seriously, and he does an excellent job. I think he is the youngest usher we have, and the people of the church are very pleased with him too. Isaac is and always has been a boy who takes responsibility very seriously. He remembers what he is supposed to do, and does it exactly as he is supposed too. He is meticulous about it. That is very unusual in a young boy, but then Isaac isn’t your average young boy. And he is shaping up to be a great young man. Today is Isaac’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Isaac!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
War machines…the weapons of war…everything from tanks to airplanes to ships. A war cannot be fought without the equipment that transports, shoots, bombs, floats, and flies over the war. What happens to the shattered remains of the equipment that didn’t make it back to base? Obviously, if a ship is hit, it ends up at the bottom of the ocean, as does a submarine, but what of the planes, tanks, jeeps, and even the bases that have been bombed out, shot up, or otherwise rendered useless? The world is littered with the wreckage of the many wars that have taken place over the years of human existence, because humans have a propensity for fighting. We don’t like when things don’t go our way, and if we don’t understand that we can’t always have it our way, we tend to go to war.
On an island in the North Pacific, lies a remote island called Shikotan, at the southern end of the Kuril archipelago. The island seems like a simple place, green and lush in the summertime, but the island hides a secret. It has one particularly astonishing characteristic. The island is dotted with the decaying hulks of Russian military tanks from the 1950s. And these rusting relics hint at the troubled past…and present of Shikotan. Shikotan is a part of an ongoing battle for ownership between Russia and Japan.
Shikotan is part of the Kuril archipelago, a chain of islands stretching from the southeastern tip of Russia to the north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The Pacific lies on one side of the Kuril Islands, with the Sea of Okhotsk found on the other. Its location makes it an important island to both countries, hence the battle. After World War II, the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which was signed between the Allies and Japan in 1951, stated that Japan must give up “all right, title and claim to the Kuril Islands.” Unfortunately, it didn’t specifically recognize the Soviet Union’s sovereignty over them. That allowed the dispute that has ensued. Japan claims that at least some of the disputed islands are not a part of the Kuril Islands, and thus are not covered by the treaty. Russia maintains that the Soviet Union’s sovereignty over the islands was recognized in post-war agreements.
Since that time, Japan and the Soviet Union had been fighting over the island. They finally ended their formal state of war with the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, but did not resolve the territorial dispute. During talks leading to the joint declaration, the Soviet Union offered Japan the two smaller islands of Shikotan and the Habomai Islands in exchange for Japan renouncing all claims to the two bigger islands of Iturup and Kunashir, but Japan refused the offer after pressure from the US. Japan did not really intend to give up the island, and no one really knows how strong their army there was, but what is left on the island are the remnants of that army…a few masterpieces of Soviet engineering, IS-2 and IS-3 tanks.
Every new for of weapon or battle plan must have a first time of use. I don’t know if the soldiers or the inventors would be more nervous as this plan unfolded, but my guess is the soldiers, who must place their lives in the hands of the inventor, and pray that he knew what he was doing. The Battle of Crete, also known as Operation Mercury was fought during World War II on May 20, 1941 to May 21, 1941. It was short-lived mostly because of the “firsts” the Allies saw during this battle.
On that day, May 20, 1941, the Nazis began an airborne invasion of the island of Crete. Greek forced were joined by other Allied troops to defend the island. After one day of fighting, the Germans appeared to be losing, as they had suffered heavy casualties. This gave the Allies a feeling of confidence in their victory over the Nazis. Unfortunately that feeling of confidence was a little premature. The next day, the Allies encountered some communication failures, and due to the Allied tactical hesitation, as well as German offensive operations, Maleme Airfield in western Crete fell to the Germans. This enabled the Germans to land reinforcements and overwhelm the defensive positions on the north side of the island. The Allied forces had no choice but to withdrew to the south coast. More than half of them were evacuated by the British Royal Navy, but the remainder surrendered or joined the Cretan resistance. The defense of Crete evolved into a costly naval engagement, and by the end of the campaign the Royal Navy’s eastern Mediterranean strength had been reduced to only two battleships and three cruisers…not enough to defend anything.
So…what made this an operation of firsts? The Battle of Crete was the first time that German paratroops, known as Fallschirmjäger, were used en masse. It was also the first mainly airborne invasion in military history, and the first time the Allies made significant use of intelligence from decrypted German messages from the Enigma machine. It was also the first time German troops encountered mass resistance from a civilian population. Prior to this time the Nazis held enough power over the civilians to force them to comply. These people fought back…for the first time. Due to the number of casualties and the belief that airborne forces no longer had the advantage of surprise, Adolf Hitler became reluctant to authorize further large airborne operations, preferring instead to employ paratroopers as ground troops. In contrast, the Allies were impressed by the potential of paratroopers and started to form airborne-assault and airfield-defense regiments of their own. Major changes in military history, brought about by one battle.
The Nazi bombers were notorious for their sneaky bomber raid, especially the night bombings. The British decided that it was time for start fighting back. So they came up with the idea of using German speaking individuals to impersonate German air controllers, broadcasting false orders to confuse German fighter pilots. The plan was called Operation Corona, and the scope of the operation was massive, but ironically, it was only made possible because of German-speaking Jewish refugees who had escaped Germany and settled in Britain. What an amazing way for the Jewish refugees to be able to get back at the Nazis for the horrid treatment they had received and that they had escaped thankfully. Now, these refugees were breaking into Luftwaffe radio channels and playing wreaking havoc on the Luftwaffe’s ability to direct their night fighters.
On one night in 1943, the British managed to get almost all the German night fighters to fly home, and only one aircraft was lost during that night. Another night, a German night fighter, who was already lost, was redirected to a British airfield and captured. I can’t imagine what was going on in the minds of the commanding officers in charge of the night fighters. Their men were presumably, totally mixed up, and every mission failed to bring the desired result.
For me, the most amazing part has to do with the Jewish involvement. Hitler was so intent on killing the Jewish people, and in this instance, it was a group of Jewish people who were able to pull of a great victory over Hitler and his night fighter pilots. Operation Corona was made possible because before the war many people, mostly Jews, fled Nazi Germany to England, and I seriously doubt if Hitler ever knew what happened, but those people who were involved knew, and while they were not able to help their own people directly, I’m sure it gave them some satisfaction to know that they were doing their part to fight against the horrible dictator who was responsible for the deaths of so many of their people. Operation Corona gave them the opportunity they needed to do something big to help in ending the war and bringing victory to the Allies, thereby helping many of their own people too.
My nephew, Chris Iverson is a dedicated dad. When his son, with his wife Cassie, was born with Downs Syndrome he stepped right up to the plate. Lucas was his boy, and that was the greatest thing ever. Chris and Cassie have also taken up the cause to bring awareness to the world about just how amazing these children are. Lucas is such a happy boy, and while he can have his moods like any other kid, he smiles a lot. I think that is partly due to the amazing parents he has. Of course, becoming a big brother this past summer was great for Lucas and his parents too. Chris and Cassie’s little girl, Zoey arrived right on schedule and she thinks her big brother is pretty great. She thinks her parents are great too.
Chris loves the outdoors, and wants to teach his kids to love it too. He and Cassie like to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains. Chris loves to fish and just enjoy the great outdoors. I’m sure that as time goes on, he will be teaching his kids the ropes, thereby setting the stage for the next generation of nature lovers. I can’t blame Chris for loving the great outdoors, because I feel the same way. My big thing is hiking, and I don’t really know if Chris shares that with me or not, but to each his own. I’m not into camping. I guess that after spending the day hiking in the woods, I want the comforts of a motel. Nevertheless, I have a lot of respect for people who get out and rough it.
One of the things I like the most about Chris is that he is a patriot. These days, we need every patriot we can get. With the government trying to take our rights away from us every day, America needs people who will stand up for those rights, whether it is fighting or being very vocal about what is going on. Either one takes real guts, and Chris has guts. We really need more people like that in our country these days. I like that Chris stands up for our country. He is a good man, dedicated dad, good husband, and a patriot…what more could a family ask of a man. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I love that I have connected with so many family members over the past few years. It seems like each connection brings another connection, and then it keeps blossoming into more and more connections. Yesterday, I got an email from my cousin, Tracey Schumacher Inglimo, telling me of some information she came across in FamilySearch.Org. Some of it I already had, but there was quite a bit of it that I didn’t. It was like opening an early Christmas present. It was given to me for no reason other than to further the family tree for all of us. I seriously can’t tell you how big a blessing Tracey has become, and she continues to grow more and more important to my life every day. It was the connection with her that started all the open doors in the Schumacher family in the first place. From there, the Schumacher side of the family has grown to the point where I’m not sure just how many we know…and that is awesome!!
As I said, some of the information was information that I already had, but some of it was new to me. One of the things I found most exciting is that Tracey had found, what I now believe to be the long lost picture of Christian Schumacher, who is my great great uncle, and the brother of my great grandfather, Carl Schumacher. According to my great aunt, Bertha Schumacher Hallgren, “Christian was a soldier (he joined very young, perhaps 20), straight and tall when he stood in his uniform, the photo of which Elsa and I used to love to look at when we were small. He served in the first World War, having stayed in the reserves throughout the years, and fighting men became so few in the closing years of the conflict that Germany had to call up all the reserves, regardless of age. When the Russians entered Poland, he was captured and never heard from again. He had married a Polish girl and lived just inside the border of the two countries, operating a wholesale grocery business. They never had children and she did not continue writing after this tragedy.”
It is my hope that the picture Tracey found online is the same one Aunt Bertha mentioned in her story. It had seemed all but lost, and to find it among the things Tracey had found excited me beyond measure, as I know it will for all the other family members who have been hoping to see it. It is exactly what was described to me, and I know that there are others in the family who have seen it, so I hope they will be able to confirm that is the one they had seen.
I have found, as I have taken this journey of discovery to find other family members and more information on our history, that two heads…or ten, are better than one. They are far better, in fact. We all tend to look different places, and look for different information, and yet before you know it, the information found by one turns out to be the information that someone else was searching for. I guess I would have to say that my main reason for connecting with family is the family…for sure, but finding out so much more about the family is definitely a plus. So, today I want to thank Tracey for giving me and the rest of the family such an amazing gift. We all love you very much!!
During World War II, when many of the men were involved in the fighting over seas, a group of women stepped up and filled the gap as welders working in the bomber plants. They became known as Rosie the Riveter, and there were thousands of them. It really became a movement of female empowerment, and I don’t know how the war would have gone without them. It was a movement of solidarity. They worked to keep the American Army Air Forces in much needed bombers. There were men who were riveters too, including my Uncle Bill Spencer, who was turned down for the service because of flat feet and a hernia, but most of them were women, and they included my Aunt Laura Spencer and my Aunt Ruth Spencer. It was a time when it was all hands on deck…our fighting airmen needed our help and support. One of those fighting airmen was my dad, Allen Spencer, brother to Laura, Bill, and Ruth. I’m sure it seemed to them, the best way they could help their brother, and all the other airmen.
The other day, I came across an article in the paper about the Willow Run bomber plant in Willow Run, Michigan. It would seem that this little slice of history is set to go on the chopping block. I suppose that not every historic landmark can be saved, but it seems such a horrible shame to tear down a building that marked such a heroic effort by so many people, to stand behind a nation at war, by meeting such an enormous need. Between 1942 and 1945, crews numbering tens of thousands built roughly one B-24 Liberator an hour…8,685 in all. There were women all over the country performing the work that had always been done by men, but at the Willow Run plant, one Rose Will Monroe worked alongside 40,000 other workers…mostly women…and soon she became the trademark…Rosie the Riveter. Before long, all those women were known as Rosie the Riveters…and they considered it an honor to bear the title.
Now, the Willow Run bomber plant is in peril. Those who remember the trademark Rosies, want to keep their history alive, but in order to do so, they need 8 million dollars. They don’t have much time to raise the money. They are at a remarkable 7.23 million dollars right now. To me it would be a horrible shame to let this little slice of history be destroyed. I feel like it is so uncharacteristic of this nation to forget the efforts of our heroes in any area of American life. It is my hope that this historic landmark can be saved, so that our children, and our children’s children can see what can be accomplished when we work together. More information on this can be found at Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant.
While my dad was in England fighting in World War II, his brother and sisters were working in the shipyards helping with the war effort there. On their days off, the workers at the shipyards liked to go and picnic in the area parks or a friends cabin. There was usually a group of young men and women that would go on these picnics, and Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bill were among them. In an effort to make my dad feel like he was a part of things back home, they would send him pictures of the things that were going on with them back home. Dad enjoyed the pictures from home immensely, but that didn’t stop him from being the typical big brother.
While Dad was in England, letters from home were like a lifeline. Those men were lonely and homesick. They depended on those letters from family and friends to help them get through that time of uncertainty and the ugliness of war. I have been reading his letters home for some time now, and while some of the letters reveal the loneliness that can only be seen if you read between the lines, others are more about having a little fun teasing his siblings, and especially his little sister, Ruth. Of course, you’ll have to admit, that she really walked right into it, but like any 18 year old girl, she probably didn’t realize what would come back to her.
Aunt Ruth wrote a letter to my dad, her brother, Allen, told him a little bit about this boy named Selmer that she obviously liked, and included a picture of Selmer kissing her. Well, my dad couldn’t let that one slide. This was his little sister, and she was growing up too fast for his liking. And who was this guy kissing her anyway? Dad remarked on how unusual the guy’s name was, and teased his sister about whether the guy was kissing her or looking at her locket, pretty much settling on the former thought. He teased her about the fact that she had apparently been telling him that she didn’t have any boyfriends, but clearly she did. And then, out came the big brother in my dad, when he told his little sister that this guy had “all the earmarks of a wolf” as far as he could see.
Now, all the rest of the teasing aside, I had to laugh at that part of the letter. A wolf!! I know that many people wouldn’t really understand the significance of that remark, but we…in this family…totally get it. It was almost as if my dad was predicting the future. Did Aunt Ruth marry Selmer? No, she didn’t! The prediction that my dad spoke, without realizing it, had more to do with the word than the man. You see, when my Aunt Ruth did get married, it was to a man named Lester (Jim) Wolfe!! So, while Selmer didn’t turn out to be the wolf my dad predicted, I guess my Uncle Jim Wolfe did, and that wolf literally swept my Aunt Ruth off her feet.
When men go off to war, their buddies become more than just people they serve with. They are family, and more importantly, they are a life line. These men, often barely more than boys, have to count of their fellow soldiers to have their back…in the deepest sense of the word. If the platoon is attacked, it is going to be the ability of the men in the platoon to act at a moments notice that will often decide their fate. Of course, no one is going to be able to move fast enough to get away from a bomb that has been dropped in most cases. There just isn’t time, but if everyone is alert, many dangers can be seen in time to warn the rest of the platoon. The further back in history the war is, the more the men had to depend on each other to stay alive, because modern equipment has helped to track the approaching enemy these days, but back then it wasn’t available.
My grandpa served in World War I, and while he was a cook and not a fighting soldier, the danger was just as real for him as it was for any other soldier. You can’t be in a war zone, and not be in danger, and quite possibly he had to depend on his fellow soldiers more than someone who was in a fighting position, because he didn’t carry a gun on a regular basis. An attack on the camp would leave these men more vulnerable than men who regularly carry a gun. I’m quite sure that Grandpa and his crew had guns assigned to them, they still didn’t use them as much as other men, as so were not as used to them. They had to know that their platoon members were going to have their back…and they did.
Many men felt such a close tie to their fellow soldiers, that life long friendships were built. Their comrades were never to be forgotten…whether they made it through the war or not. In fact, often it was those men who did not come home, who were most remembered, because quite often, they gave their life to protect their fellow soldiers. I am thankful for the men who fought with my grandfather, and made a way for him to come home to his family, because without those men, my family and I would not be here today. Their bravery in fighting for their country made our way of life possible in the nation, and brought back to his family, the gentle loving man that was my grandfather. It was the code of all military men and women, then and now. When going into battle, soldiers have always been heard saying, “I’ve got your back.” And they do.
My grand nephew, Zack has always been a very loving little boy. He is, without doubt, my niece Jenny and her husband Steve’s most huggy boy. That’s just how he is, even telling those he loves, that they forgot to hug him, or that he needed a hug. He is one of those kids that don’t really care if the guys think it’s weird to hug your mom and dad…he just does it anyway.
Just because Zack is a huggy boy, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t up for rough housing with his brothers. And of course, that also means joking around. In fact, getting the better of your brother is the best thing a guy can hope to do…especially if you are the middle brother. It seems like the middle brother always has more to prove than the other brothers. And Zack can hold his own against his brothers. Not that they spend much time really fighting. It’s usually more like a fight for supremacy. And it’s always in good clean fun.
These days, however, Zack has a new job. He is not only the little brother of Xander and the big brother of Isaac, but he is the big brother to Aleesia. Having a sister is a whole new ball game, but Zack is up for the job. Being the brother that likes to hug, he is a good choice for someone to help out with the baby…not that he would get to be the only one, because Aleesia has three brothers…and don’t you forget it. Nevertheless, Zack has given himself a new job when it comes to his little sister. Zack is the giggle maker. He feels like it is his job to make sure that Aleesia has plenty to laugh about. From making faces to goofy dances, Zack will pull out all the stops just to see the smile on his baby sisters face. Does it get any better than that? Today is Zack’s birthday. Happy birthday Zack!! We love you!!