Loyalty to country and family 

Loyalty means we demonstrate pride and allegiance to our country, community, school, family, and peers. In short, it means to show you are there for someone else at all times good and bad, up and down. I want to share with you a short personal story about my family’s history that speaks to the very essence of loyalty.

The date was February 4, 1945. The crew of the USS Barbel - ss316, a submarine, was struck by bombs from Japanese aircraft several miles off the coast of the Philippines and all were lost, killed in action. This event hits home for me because my great uncle Ellis Henry Stevens was a Motor Machinist’s Mate 2nd class aboard that submarine.  I never met my great uncle, but his youngest sister, my great aunt Mae Stevens made sure I knew who he was while I was growing up as a kid.  She often shared pictures and stories about him from their childhood and read many of the letters he wrote home while he was in service. 

My great uncle was a loyal serviceman to our country, but he was also fiercely loyal to the family back home.  He was the oldest of four children and joined the Navy in 1939 at the beginning of World War II.  During his time in the service, he would write home to his family on a regular basis and would wire money home monthly so that my great aunt Mae, the baby of the family, could stay in school.  My grandfather and his other brother worked the farms to make ends meet, but never finished school while my great aunt was able to go on and graduate.  Thanks in large part to my great uncle Ellis’s loyalty to family.

Shortly after he was presumed dead on February 19, 1946, his family received the Purple Heart and a memorial notification letter signed by President Harry Truman for his sacrifice and service to our country.  I am now the proud owner of his purple heart and memorial notification letter as well as all the letters he wrote my great aunt.  One day I will write a book about him based on his letters to her and his loyalty.  His story is the legacy that I can pass on to my children and future grandchildren.  What will be your story of loyalty?

I encourage you to reflect on who or what you are loyal to and to express your gratitude to those who are loyal to you.   I will close with this quote from renowned film director Mario Puzo

“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, lies in its loyalty to each other.”

Posted by [email protected] On 30 May, 2021 at 2:16 PM  

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