By Boot Recruit Myra
A Boot Campaign Veteran’s Day TributeImagine a 7 year old boy named David sitting in his house without a cell phone, computer, satellite, cable, microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, electronic games of any sort or the basics like indoor plumbing a.k.a. modern conveniences! In fact, only one family on the street owns a television (black and white of course) and all the neighbors are jealous of their “high-tech” prowess! David and his parents are glued to the only form of electronic entertainment in their house: an Emerson radio. As they listen to President Roosevelt describe the events of December 7th, 1941 “a day that will live in infamy”, the schoolboy becomes a little uneasy. He sheepishly gazes at his parents wondering what they are thinking and feeling, hoping they will give a hint of comfort in their countenance. They after all, have reason to fret, with 4 of their 6 children in active duty during WWII. Keenly aware of the remaining two little boys in the room, neither parent reveals the probable inner turmoil they endure. For 18 months William and Lucy Patton heard nothing from their oldest son Bill, who was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it went up in flames. Fearing he was dead, they kept vigil each night hoping for good news. It was difficult however, because of the war, the nation was under food, clothing and gas rationing. As David said, “day-to-day living was always a matter of trying to survive with some degree of comfort”. Then in 1942 on Mother’s Day, Lucy received a call from Bill “somewhere in the Pacific” just to let her know he loved her and he was ok. 30 seconds of pure joy on the phone with her son set Lucy’s heart free from worry to be sure…. for the moment anyway.
Hard to believe in this day of instant messaging, that there was a time when families were kept at bay for months, even years, with news of loved ones serving in war. The most remarkable part of the story is all four of them survived their tours of duty in WWII! Bill the oldest, received battle stars for Midway, Wake Island, Solomon Island, Coral Sea and the air offensive in Europe. He received a Purple Heart for wounds received in the Pacific. Bill went on to serve as a Criminal Investigator and was an expert in fingerprint identification. He spent most of his time during the Korean War identifying fallen heroes killed in combat. Charles, second in this Patton line, was a Master Sergeant and served in Europe. He was a Line Chief for a squadron of P-51 Mustang fighters. He received both the Bronze and Silver Star for his contributions to keep Mustangs flying and other war efforts. He served in Germany, France and England during his 6 year military career. Richard, the third son was a Staff Sergeant in Panama. After 4 years in that role, he transferred to civilian service as a policeman on the Panama Canal. Paul, the fourth boy, was a tail gunner on a B-24 in England, France and Germany. He was a Sergeant and crew member of a bomber squadron both in the US and Europe.
Bob, no. 5 in the brother row, spent all of his 3 year enlistment as an instrument instructor for pilots in the Korean conflict. Last but not least, the sixth son of William and Lucy Patton, David served during the Korean War as Military Police. His assignment was in personnel and with physical security which involved storing, maintenance and transfer of atomic weapons to aircraft. All told, these six men served 51 years in protection of the United States. Many more families like these gave up the comfort and security of home to serve our nation in a time of need and at the expense of their mother’s nerves to be sure!
I recently asked David Patton who he’d most like to see with Boots ON! His reply was Abraham Lincoln. How convenient that our Boot Campaign Facebook fans Paul & Terry Bass posted this photo this week, and in so doing helped make a Veteran’s wish come true!
I wear my boots in commemoration of all Veterans, most especially the Patton brothers: Uncle Bill, Uncle Charles, Uncle Richard, Uncle Paul, Uncle Bob and my dad,
David Patton. Like a true patriot and Veteran he continues to serve his country by putting his boots ON in gratitude for all who are in active duty. Thanks Dad and immeasurable thanks to countless more Veterans whose selfless acts of service provide ALL of us the freedom to pursue our own modern conveniences!