Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - My Grandpa, Aaron Carey

October 13th was my grandpa's birthday. This is my way of honoring his request that we never forget about the horrors of war or the sacrifices our soldiers have made for us.

Aaron Carey was the third child of Dick and Nancy (Fisher) Carey, Cherokee Nation citizens who were both listed on the Final Dawes Roll. While a young teenager, Aaron's father was killed by a hit and run driver and he had to take over the role of helping his mother support the family of 9 children. He fetched water and kept the fire going for her as she did laundry for a living. He also helped a local widow on her farm and he would be paid in vegetables which he took home to his mother and siblings.

When he was 20 years old, he enlisted with the U.S Army on December 11, 1942. He was attached to the 612th Tank Destroyer battalion and was part of the European campaign. On Dec. 18, 1944, at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, he was captured by the Germans at Honsfeld. After having his coat, gloves and boots taken away, he was marched toward the Prisoner of War camp. It was bitter cold and he had nothing to eat during the entire 10 day trip. He endured six months as a POW until he was liberated by American soldiers.

After the war, he returned to civilian life and raised a family like many other veterans. Carey never realized he had honors coming to him. Fifty-five years after WWII, he was presented 7 medals from United States Congressman Tom Coburn. Carey was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the POW medal, an European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign medal (with service stars representing the 8 major battles he participated in), a U.S. Victory medal, a Good Conduct Medal, a Combat and Infantryman badge, and a Rifleman Qualification Combat Infantry Army Award medal. He was also awarded a Cross of Valor by the State of Oklahoma.

Later when interviewed about his wartime experience, Carey said he felt it was important that the young people of today learn about the wars America has fought and the sacrifices made to keep the country free. He said he had told his children about it when they were young like many other veterans did, but he didn't know if the stories had been passed on to the younger generation. He said if given the opportunity to tell young people about WWII, he would advise them, "Let's not go through another thing like this again."

Two years and four months after he received his WWII medals, Aaron Carey was sick and near death. As he struggled to hold onto life, his oldest daughter laid her face beside his and told him she loved him and one day he would have four little Indian girls in Heaven with him. A few hours later, he died.

He was survived by 4 daughters, 12 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by both of his parents, his wife, and six brothers.

Let us never forget.......

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thank you for reading.

The Granddaughter

copyright 2010, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

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