Our dear friends the Chupps took their family to the Willamette National Cemetery last year on Memorial Day Weekend to honor the men and women who have fought in various wars to secure our freedoms. On a last minute whim, we decided to join them this year. I say 'on a last minute whim', but in reality, I had hoped we would make the effort go up there on Monday to, at the very least, visit the gravesite of George and Ruth Tillinghast, Andrew's grandparents. When our friends informed us after church that they were heading to the cemetery right after lunch, we decided it
would be even more memorable if we tagged along with them. It seemed like the right decision for our crew...only, I hadn't come to church prepared. I had no flowers to adorn the tombstone, no camera to capture our visit, no jackets to keep us warm, no knowledge whatsoever of where exactly Grandpa and Grandma had been buried. That's where three loved ones stepped in--Carole, Lou & Kara pulled it together for us. We managed to keep warm with Kara's extra coats, document the event through Kara's camera lens, get the burial site info from Lou
via our cellphone, and get bits of stories about Grandpa and Grandma from Carole on the drive up so we could share with the kids and our friends as we visit their gravesite. Even our friends' son Colson picked up a discarded flower to adorn the tombstone.
Kiddos listening to Mr. Chupp as he read the story of a war hero.
Remembering our servicemen and relatives.
Andrew's grandparents burial site.
George Arthur Tillinghast
(Anyone see Dave in this picture?Amazing!!)
Here's a newspaper clipping of their wedding announcement.
First Lieutenant George Tillinghast, WWII bomber pilot
In our old Tillinghast Bible, I found several old newspaper clippings that helped fill in the details--and set aright some others--on the story we shared by the gravesite. Here's one of them:
Cape Flier Tracks Down Japanese in Jungle
With the Army on Bougainville (AP) - "This ain't no way to treat a flier," gunts First Lieut. George A.Tillinghast, Cape Cod, Mass., as he toils through Bougainville's hot-box jungle and up Bougainville's roof-steep foothills as an air liaison officer. His job is to arrange air strikes on Japanese positions in the almost inaccessible jungle. He likes the assignment in some ways but not the footwork.
The brawny Tillinghast, a B-24 pilot who has three German subs in the Caribbean, quite a bit of Japanese shipping, and three Zeros to his credit, crash-landged off Munda some time ago. He had been on a raid over Rabaul without benefit of fighter escort and en route home a bevy of Zeros attacked, knocking out two engines. In the crash, Tillinghast broke his arm but saved the crew, which drifted in a rubber boat for two days before being picked up.
Memorial Day proved to be much more meaningful for our little family this year because of this visit. We left the cemetery sobered by the rows upon rows of American flags and the many wars these brave fallen soldiers have had to wage, and at the same time, so thankful for the sacrifices that have preserved our freedoms as Americans (yes, I can say that now =).
I pray we will not take these freedoms for granted, and that our government will not declare war too hastily or without justifiable reason.