Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Remembering....May 29, 2007

Since we knew that we would be traveling all day on Memorial Day…we did the cemetery circuit on Saturday. We went to the graveyard where my brother (who passed away at seven months), my Grandfather and my Grandmother were buried. This was the first time the girls had been there…or to any other graveyard that I can think of. Emma was very sad as she walked around…almost close to tears.

Seanna stayed quiet, but not as sad. We later put fresh flower arrangements on each special spot. Emma said I have to leave here…my heart is too sad. Seanna said your heart should not be sad…they are with Jesus these are just their bones. Emma said I know that these are bones…. but these bones are making my heart sad.

We went to the next gravesite where my great grandparents were buried. My great uncle Sherman was also laid there to rest. His is a most interesting story. He gave his life for others in the submarine the USS Squalus. The Sub was on its 19th test run that did not go well. This was in the year of 1939. The water flooded into the rear section of the sub. My great uncle made the decision to seal him self and the others in the rear chamber to save the rest of the ship. This was the first sub in history that there was a successful rescue operation. It made the history books.

This weekend while we were in Little Rock they honored the sailors of this submarine. They had a sub there in the Arkansas River and released 17 white roses representing 17 sailors that were from AR that lived. Their roses were swept away immediately by a current. They then released a single red rose signifying my uncle who gave his life. That rose stayed close to the sub and continued to flow in circles around its base. It was very moving.

We moved on next area to where another great uncle was buried. He was on a ship that went down during battle. He and his two friends swam to a small island close to their ship and waited for the rescue team to get to them. My great uncle and another of the three men were cold and took off their boots to try to dry them off. They fell asleep with hyperthermia and did not wake up. Their third friend who kept his boots on made it when the rescue team arrived. His name was Lloyd.

My father is named Lloyd Luther Shirley. Sherman’s middle name was Luther. My father was born shortly after those two incidents in 1942.

All of these stories were told to my girls and all of these places were visited on Saturday. Sunday night while watching fireworks with Emma by the river in downtown Little Rock…she said Mama if you and I were in a sub…I would close the door so that you could live. I said well we won’t have to worry about that because we won’t be in that situation. She said my cousin was kind of like Jesus wasn’t he. I said well kind of.
She said I know that Seanna said that they are just bones…but it still hurts my heart. When I get to heaven I am going to give him a big hug.

….Back story… the day before the sub was filled with water Sherman had a bad feeling. He was engaged to a beautiful girl at home. He had bought a ring for her. He gave it to his best friend and said if something happens to me…please make sure she gets this ring. She got the ring from his best friend…but did not get the love of her life returned to her. She married a year later but her daughter said she never was the same after Sherman didn’t come home.

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