Honoring A Veteran

Happy Veterans Day!

Ever since I started my blog 3 years ago, it’s become a tradition for me to shirk my Author hat and don my Family Genealogist cap to share a bit of meaningful history here on certain holidays. Many of you already know that I come from a family of veterans lightly sprinkled with civilians. Most citizens of the United States are, knows or is related to a veteran. We have a lot of branches and with no less than 1-5 bases per state and province, you don’t have to look far to find one of the amazing men or women who have served our country.

I can’t even go a decade into my family history without stumbling on a few veterans. The toughest bit, is when you find yourself straddling lines. How do you hold onto that innate respect and admiration for the ones who came before you, when you’re faced with ancestors who fought on both sides of the same war? Can you honor your Rebel ancestor as equally as you honor your Yankees?

Speaking solely for myself, I find honoring each ancestor individually for the whole of who they were, and not just the wars they fought, is the best way to go about it. After all, without any of them I wouldn’t be here. Normally, I dig way back into my past to find a soldier to highlight on this day, but this year I want to honor someone a little more recent.

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Carl Richard 1918/19

This is my maternal great-grandfather, Carl Richard (last name omitted to protect living relatives). His parents, aunts, uncles and both sets of grandparents were all English immigrants, so he was the first American-born soldier in his direct line to put on the uniform for the good ol’ U.S. of A. He served during WWI and then returned home to go to university and become an Industrial Artist and Photographer for the rest of his days.

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Carl, the Industrial Photographer hard at work.

At the age of 13, Carl’s mother passed away and his father disappeared without a trace – it’s still one of the big family mysteries (I theorize it had to do with the man losing his father and wife within the same year, after already losing his mother not but a few years prior). Carl was raised from then on by his maternal Grandfather, Richard, for whom he’d been named. A single widower who’d already reared his own 6 children with the help of his daughter, Edith, who never married. Carl was highly active and academic, according to all of the correspondence his aunt sent back to the family in England.

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A 14 year old Carl with a ‘motor-cycle’ in front of the old homestead in Melrose Park, Illinois.

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L-R: Carl, his grandfather Richard and aunt Edith on Paw Paw Lake in Michigan.

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Carl passed his veteran status down to his only son, John, who became a pilot during WWII. He also passed his talent and love for art to his eldest daughter–my grandmother–who was one of the creative influences in my life from early on and well into my teen years.

Carl Richard
1892-1945

Thank you, C.R.F. ~ I’m honored to be your great-granddaughter!

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