When my grandfather, George Floyd Byer was in the service during World War I, he started out as a cook, and later became the chief cook…or basically the man in charge. He was well respected by all the men under him. In fact, he and his men got along so well that they even liked spending their leave time together. A lot of the time, men on leave hang out with other guys in their unit, but not usually the ones who are above them, nevertheless, Grandpa’s men didn’t seem to mind at all. Or maybe it was just different back then.
Whether a person is excited about being stationed in another country or not, it is a good opportunity to see the world. Even in World War I, when it was not quite as easy to get to so many places, they could still see the towns around them, and like my grandfather, sometimes they get to see a castle in France. This was the case when my grandfather and some of his men went on leave. I don’t know how much of the castle they got to see, but they were able to say that they had been to one, and that is a very cool thing in the World War I days.
My grandfather was always a very respected man, in the service and out of it. Nevertheless, it is hard for me to imagine him in the service. He was such a gentle man…like my dad, and it’s hard for me to imagine my dad in the service too. Neither of them seem like a person who could possibly kill someone. I guess that war is just different. It truly is kill or be killed, and you do what you have to do to stay alive and watch the backs of the men you serve with. I can very much imagine my grandfather and my dad doing that. They were both honorable men, and while killing a human being is something neither would ever do for no good reason, when it comes to protecting their family or their comrades, they did what they had to do.
Knowing how loyal my grandfather was to his men, I can totally see why they respected him so much. He was kind and caring, not just to his family, but to his men, because men who are far away from home during a war, are definitely dealing with a lot of emotions. It helps to have someone in charge who can understand how you feel, and give you advise when it is needed. That’s how my grandfather was. Today would have been Grandpa Byer’s 121st birthday. I wish he could still be with us…I miss him. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandpa. We love you.
Every soldier who ever signed up had to go through a few moments of fear or worry about where the steps they were taking were going to lead them. Whether they signed up voluntarily, or were drafted, there was always the possibility, or in many cases, the probability that they would soon find themselves fighting and killing men, or boys really, who were the same age or even younger than they were. In early wars, the fighting was hand to hand, and even when guns were invented, they often saw the result of their direct hit on the enemy. They witnessed the fear, so vividly evident on the face of that person who was the enemy, and yet was really no different than they were. Both men were scared. It truly was kill or be killed, because it was war, and the only objective was to win.
Many of my ancestors have been in wars, including most recently, my dad, brothers-in-law, several uncles, nephews, and grandfathers. I have read some of my dad’s letters home from the war, and while he tried to sound positive and unafraid, you could still see, if you read between the lines, that war and a degree of fear simply went together. Still, I can imagine that as each of those men and women are standing in line to get the many vaccinations they had to have, that for a least a moment, they wondered just what they had gotten themselves into. Of course, there was really no way out. It didn’t matter if they enlisted voluntarily or were drafted, they belonged to Uncle Sam either way. They were going into battle, and that’s all there is too it.
Of course, the soldier is trained to be brave and not to show fear, and maybe they truly have to do that. I know that if you show fear to a dog, they pick up on that…so does the enemy too…maybe. All I know is that deep in their hearts, they must feel like they would like to run in the face of enemy fire. Of course, they can’t. They must fight. This is war…this is kill or be killed…this is their duty, and even if it means that they lose their life, they must do their duty. People are depending on them. Not just their platoon members, but their nation, and the people of the nation they are trying to protect from whatever evil people are trying to take them over.
When I think of our soldiers, I have to think of how very brave and courageous they are, because as the saying goes, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” I feel very proud of all those men and women in our family, as well as our friends, who have answered the call to duty, set aside their fears, and gone out to do their duty in the fight against evil. They are a huge part of what makes this country great.
Bob and I went to the Wyoming Cavalry indoor football game last night, and there are media events at different times in the game, with things like a three person in one triple bag sack race, and kids on a bouncy ball. They asked the fans if these things took them back a few years, and that started me thinking about the things I did as a kid. One thing that came to mind was the skateboard. It was my generation who had the privilege of riding the skateboard first, and while we were first, we certainly didn’t take that ride to the skill level of the subsequent generations. I was thrilled when I could stand on the thing and ride. The thought of taking it on a railing, or up a ramp, or flipping it in the air and landing back on it, never crossed my mind…or the minds of the rest of my generation for that matter.
Nevertheless, at some point in time, some kid who thought that the old style tame skateboarding was way too tame for them, decided to step it up a bit, and something new and exciting was created from a fad that probably would have died a miserably quick death otherwise. Soon the kids were doing all kinds of tricks, and spending hours each day trying to perfect something that would let them outshine their friends. Of course, there were the normal, and not so normal injuries that went along with such endeavors, but that didn’t stop the kids from working hard to create the next big thing on a skateboard. They flew along curbs and railings, flipped their boards several times in the air and managed to land right back on the board. They held competitions…just for fun, at first, but these days they compete for money, titles, trophies. Every skateboarder wants to be dubbed the King of Skateboarding. They even came out with video games on skateboarding, which my grandsons absolutely loved.
Even the boards have changed from the clunky ones we had when I was a kid, that were really just skates with a board attached, and had very little maneuverability, to one that had just one wheel on each end, and twisted in the middle, to the long board that my grandsons liked, which probably mimics a surf board without the water, to many more that I have no clue about, much less how they work. I suppose that as long as we have kids who are willing to push the envelope in the world of skateboarding, we will have manufacturers who will make the designs they need to accomplish their unique skill set, thereby continuing to take skateboarding to the next level and beyond. While I enjoy watching the amazing tricks these people can perform, I think I will just stay on my own two feet, because at least that way, I won’t kill myself.
There is so much controversy these days concerning guns and gun control, and while I don’t usually write about political events, this one hits close to home for me and my family. For many years, my Uncle Bill was a gun dealer. He and his family had always had guns. He became interested in antique guns at some point and began to collect, deal, and show the guns at gun shows all over the north central part of the United States, and possibly even in the north west part, as well. Uncle Bill and my dad, as well as their sisters were raised around guns, and yet not one of them ever killed someone.
My family and my husband’s family have been around guns all our lives too. Our parents have hunted, as have many of us children and our spouses. If you live in Wyoming, as in many other places, owning a gun is really not so unusual. It doesn’t, however, give any indication that the gun owners here, or anywhere else are likely to commit murder. And, while people who torture animals, often move on to killing people, hunters usually do not. Legal hunters have a respect for the animals they hunt. It is to provide food for their family, that the hunter hunts.
For centuries, people have owned guns, and during all those years, mass school shootings were unheard of…until recently. Christians, like myself, mostly agree that it is largely because we have kicked God out of our schools. That makes so many people angry, because they think we are talking about God being angry at the schools because He was kicked out, but that isn’t it at all. In my opinion, when we removed God from our schools, we stopped teaching morality. Generations of kids have grown up with a changed view of right and wrong. Then those same kids are out there making television shows, video games, writing books, creating pictures, and so many other things that our impressionable kids are viewing. Wrong has become right…if it seems right to the person doing the wrong. It has become a matter of “the devil made me do it” or simply a matter of not allowing anyone to step on our feelings. It has become a good thing to be bad, and a good show is called wicked.
I think, that is we want to change things in this nation, we need to change what we are teaching our kids in school, and in life. Guns don’t kill people…people kill people, and very often, guns are not the weapon of choice, in fact, guns are used the least amount of the time. We can’t remove every possible weapon for the hands of people, unless we want to live in a Nerf world, and even then, people will use their hands, or they will just use rocks. We have to start teaching our kids and our adults the value of human life, and to respect each person’s right to life. We have to realize that few people intentionally set out to hurt the feelings of others, and as with bullying, the ones who do need to be swiftly punished. We need to stop looking at others as less important than we are, and treat each person with respect, no matter how the look, talk, and no matter what their race, gender, or age is. Our ancestors carried guns for many centuries, and did not shoot up schools or other public places in order to make a point, possibly because of the values our nation started on. Maybe we need to work to make all people feel like they are a person of value, because it isn’t the gun that kills, it is the person bent on revenge who kills people.