My great-uncle Ottis passed away two years ago, just around his 98th birthday. Born in 1913, Ottis would've turned 100 this week, May 30th, Memorial Day.
I knew him from family visits about once a year. Either they came here to see us, or we went to Oklahoma City to see them. He was quiet and calm. I was a child. He visited with the adults. I don't remember when I first realized he had fought in World War II.
What I knew of his time during the war was his being stationed with Jimmy Stewart in Idaho. That's the only story I ever heard. I called my nephew who used to talk with Uncle Ottis about the war to see what he knew. Not much more.
Our uncle had survived the Battle of Leyte Gulf, considered the largest naval battle of World War II. He had friends who did not. He wasn't emotional. He changed the subject.
Many of the men I saw from day to day while growing up had also survived this horrific war, and I had no idea. There are fewer of them to thank this year than there were last year. I thank them all.
Sandy keeps an online journal at her website www.field-days.com. E-mail her at