This is Veterans Day in America. It is our day to remember and celebrate the Veterans that have so lovingly defended our freedom as well as freedom around the world. Today I want to salute one very special veteran –My Mon..Devota F Broussard Pye. I mean Sgt Dee Broussard (Pye).
One night without telling their parents my mom and her best friend drove together from lower Louisiana–the bayou country, up to New Orleans to join the military and serve. And serve they did. “Aunt Laisie”, as she was know to all of us for all of her life, was mom’s best friend. These two tiny dynamos (less that 5 feet tall) faked the height test by putting cardboard in their shoes. It was just one of the stories that they would laugh about when they got together as we grew up. My mom served as a WAC–the Women’s Army Corps. She served in the Philippines, New Guinea, and Australia. She brought home her scrapbooks of her time during the war. These were the first scrapbooks that I ever saw. As children we were allowed to look but not to touch. Mom would show us the pictures she wanted us to see and as we grew older we saw pictures that portrayed the horrors of war.
In the mid 1950’s my parents took us on a road trip to Washington DC for a very special reunion for my mom. It was the 10th anniversary of her unit’s return to the USA. I remember the parties and the laughter and the teary moments they all had. I think it was the last time that they all gathered. But my mom and many of them remained in contact until they all began to pass on. At Christmas, Mom always is joyful to hear from one of these old friends and tearful when she receives a note from a child that one of her friends has died.
A few weeks ago, Congressman Jeff Miller from Pensacola organized a Freedom Flight of 100 Pensacola World War II veterans. My mom was the only woman aboard the veterans flight. They were flown to Washington, DC on a specially chartered aircraft. They were escorted by guardians, each a volunteer, that helped these aging veterans have a trip they will always remember. The aircraft was staffed with doctors, nurses, and military medics who had just returned from duty in Iraq, and all the things necessary to support this flight. The youngest WWII veteran is 81 and the oldest is 96. My mom is 86 years young. We all helped with mom’s preparations and she was off. And what a day she had. All were treated to special visits to the World War II Monument, the Marine Corps Monument, The Vietnam Wall, and a high light for mom, a visit to the Monument for Military Women, plus many other high points of DC. Mom meet Senator Bob Dole, a fellow WWII veteran. Mom and the oldest male veteran were chosen to lay a wreath at the WWII Memorial Then they headed home.
And what a homecoming these Veterans received when they arrived home to Pensacola. As they came thru the airport their families were there, dressed in red white and blue, waving flags, carrying flowers, and waving banners and photos. A Navy band began to play patriotic music as the veterans walked, or were pushed in their wheel chairs, through a double corridor of Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor Guard and proud young service members of all of our country’s branches of service dressed in uniform. Together they formed an honor guard that spanned the airport. Each stood at perfect attention and saluted these veterans as they passed by and were meet by their proud families. And this daughter cried. I cried out of pride, I cried out of love, I cried out of joy. I cried, – proud that I am an American. Proud of the service that so many has given for all of us.
These are some of the picutres of that day….We were caught up in the sheer excitement of the event and often forgot to take photos. Mom lays wreath with oldest male veteran. Two of my sisters greeting mom…yes, she reconginzed her picture as a young WAC. The last photo is four genrations ..all female, meeting mom on her return.
We Remember, We Are Proud, We Are Americans, We are Free, and Freedom is Not Free. Please take a moment to remember our Veterans.
God Bless America and all of our service members, past and present. May God be with them and their families!
PS…I want to give special thanks to Congressman Jeff Miller, his wonderful secretary, and everyone that helped make this Freedom Flight a fabulous trip. It is long overdue that America pays tribute to our service members. Bravo–Job Well Done–