My country ’tis of thee…

I am back in the office after a weekend Up North for a visit with my parents and my continued genealogy quest.

I was privileged to take part in what I can only term a “patriotic church service” this weekend. This church, located in the middle of woods and marshes in northwest Wisconsin, closed its doors many, many years ago. However, each year (for the past 62), on the day before Memorial Day, they open it up to the families (descendants) of those who attended a century ago. My grandparents and great-grandparents on my father’s side are buried there.

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The service included several patriotic hymns, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “God Bless America,” along with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegience. There were at least 40 of us packed into that little church with its five pews on one side and six on the other. I felt like we’d stepped back in time and were singing to honor our country and support our soldiers who’d gone off to war. During the service, we had severe lightning, thunder and hail joining in the chorus as well.

Naturally, conversations during the misty picnic afterwards turned to talk of the “old days” and all things patriotic. When I asked my dad why there was a veteran’s flag on my grandfather’s grave, I learned his father was drafted and served just for the last three weeks of World War I. My dad was set to serve in World War II, but during the physical, they found he had a heart murmur so he wasn’t eligible.

My mother said she did her part, too. Women and school children were involved in the war effort by scouring the fields and collecting milk weed pods. Apparently, the silky floss could be used to fill life jackets during World War II.

How interesting! That was the first I’d heard of that.

I would love to hear if any of you did something on the home front during the war years (any war). Click on the comments button below or drop me a line at robyn.austin@fwpubs.com.

— Robyn

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