Thursday, November 10, 2011

Love and Freedom

This past Sunday, I attended a Veteran's Day Service with my Dad.  For some reason, the lights were turned down to a very dim level so I couldn't get any good photos.   I have been going with him to this service for the past few years, so I will post some photos from those past years...

A few years ago, the main speakers at the service were Ben and Anne Purcell.  They had written a book titled "Love And Duty".  Ben Purcell had been in the Vietnam war.  He had been captured and held prisoner for five and half years while his wife was at home caring for their five children.  There, that sounds so easy to type that and to read it, doesn't it?  But think about it, really think of it...FIVE AND A HALF YEARS!  And in all that time, Anne never knew if her husband was dead or alive and the government certainly didn't give her any help or indication of where or how her husband might be.

During his time in Vietnam, Ben Purcell tried to escape and his writing of his attempts to escape  and also how he managed to keep his faith while imprisoned is truly inspiring.  Equally inspiring is his wife Anne's story how she was able to care for her children and at the same time try desperately to get the United States government to understand the plight of these men held in captivity in Vietnam.

Earlier this week I mailed a letter to Ben Purcell, because I wanted him to know that I am remembering him on this Veteran's Day (Remembrance Day in England and Canada).  I was thrilled that I was able to shake both of their hands and also introduce my Daddy to them and even get a photo of the three of them together.

 Ben & Anne are a wonderful Christian couple and their faith is something to behold.  It was an honor to meet them both.  If you ever get the chance, please read their book.  Ben will tell his story in one chapter and then Anne will tell her story in the next, and the book continues in that way, each taking a turn and that way, you get their whole story...  I asked them to sign my book and they graciously did so, and Ben wrote this:
               "May you always be blessed with Love and Freedom".

They now operate a Christmas tree farm in Clarkesville, Georgia and also speak about their book at public engagements. Just a note here, I first found their book at our local library which had been DONATED to the library by Ben and Anne Purcell.  They truly are a wonderful couple...

     Now, may I share a few more photos with you?
     These photos are of my wonderful Dad in his comfortable overalls which
were taken this past Sunday after we got back to his house after the service.  He is  out in his garden showing off his turnip greens, collards and cabbages.  (He couldn't wait to get out of his suit!)
 That is romaine lettuce that he is holding there.   You know he gave it to me! (Along with a  big bag of green peppers and green tomatoes!)



  1. Wow, look at that sunshine - in November!! I had no idea your Dad's garden is so huge - it is more a vegetable farm than a garden, isn't it!
    The picture of the soldiers erecting the flag is, I believe, a re-enactment of the moment when the allied troops took Berlin and planted that flag on top of the ruins of the German Reichstag.

  2. He really looks at home in his overalls but he also 'scrubs up well' as we say over here..

  3. Librarian,
    It is possibly the angle of my photo or just my bad photography in general, but it is supposed to be a re-actment of the moment when the flag was raised over Iwo Jima. Still, the raising of the flag over Berlin works for me too! As you know, my Dad was in Berlin after the war and the stories that he tells! I think I must do a post just on those war memories of his alone...
    That is just his autumn garden, you should see the size of the summer one! And all those greens? Does he sell them? No, he gives it all away to family and friends!

  4. Scriptor,
    Here's another story about my Dad. My son was in a play in 2nd grade. It was a "Western" theme. My Dad came to it dressed in jeans, denim shirt, silver belt buckle and cowboy hat. (All sharply pressed, mind you, he looked good!)
    All the other parents and grandparents were dressed in their very preppy clothes. When I pointed out to him that he was the only one dressed that way, he looked around, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, they're all wrong, aren't they?"
    That's my Dad!

  5. Hello Kay:
    What a wonderful tribute which serves to remind each one of us of the need to remember all those who have lost their lives in, or have been affected by, war and conflict at any time, not least in the present. And your images, as well as your words, do just that.

    We too have particularly enjoyed seeing the picture of your father, returned to the fields after the service. A wonderful role model.

    We are still experiencing problems with Blogger, particularly in the case of those who we have recently followed whose posts come and go in our Google Reader and may be easily missed. Any future silence on our part is not, we assure you, a lack of interest.

    Thank you too so much for becoming a Follower of ours. It is much appreciated.

  6. Wow, Kay, your dad looks fantastic! I love him in his overalls! And you can just tell he love his gardening - probably keeps him young. Although to call that a mere garden, would be an understatement. That's like a small field... You are lucky to have him so close and to get your veggies that fresh! Hugs, Silke

  7. Jane and Lance,
    Thank you for your comment. I wish I could convey the proper respect I feel for all veterans today, and every day.
    My Dad should give lessons on how to age with dignity and grace!

  8. Silke,
    So happy you liked the photos of my Dad and his greens. When he cooks some of them up, he calls them a "mess" of greens. He is a true country boy, knows how to do anything! Wish I had just a tenth of his energy.
    Hugs to YOU!

  9. Thank you so much for your kind visits and wonderful comments. I really, really appreciate it.

    I loved this post. I am amazed at the courage and grit of the Purcells. What incredible people. That was so special to be able to meet them.

    Your dad is an amazing gardener! Wow! Please thank him for his service to our country for us.

  10. Kay,
    Thank you! I wish I could speak more about how special it was to meet the Purcells. Here is my story connected with them... you see I had told a co-worker about this book and he called Mr. Purcell and arranged to have him speak at this Veteran's Day service. When he told me that he had arranged this, he said, "And you must be there to hear them, if it hadn't been for YOU, I would never have known about them!" (Don't know if that's strictly true, but that is what he said!) So, you see, it was special to meet them for that reason too! (I could have tried to phone Mr. Purcell, his number is in the phone book, but I am too shy to do things like that!)
    I will thank my Dad for you! Thanks again for your comment. Aloha!

  11. Love the post, and the vegetable garden too. :)

  12. This was a great post Kay. So interesting. I wish my Dad was alive still. Miss him more and more each day.
    I would call this a 'field'!
    Thanks for your comments as usual.
    Snowman squares are a bit slow coming in. Let's hope we can get enough.
    Love Suex

  13. Denise,
    Thank you!
    My Dad has a huge vegetable garden every year. Whenever I ask him what is his secret to such a beautiful garden, this is what he says, "FERTILIZE, FERTIIZE, FERTILIZE!"
    There, some free gardening advice for you! :-)

  14. Sue,
    Thank you for your comment.
    My snowman square will be in the post to you by today or Monday! He is a plain little snowman but I hope you will like him!

  15. I so enjoyed this wonderful post. What an amazing couple the Purcells are and thank you for "introducing" them to me via your post. Your father's garden is amazing, I am so in awe of it and of him as well. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Dear Cheryl,
    Thank you for your comment!
    It was such a pleasure to meet with them and to have them pose for a photo with my beloved father.
    My Daddy has such wonderful garden wisdom and life wisdom as well, I hope that I have absorbed some it and can pass it along to others!

  17. Haha!

    Too bad I don't really like gardening. I appreciate one but I don't think I can manage one

  18. Denise,
    I make sure to surround myself with talented people who enjoy gardening. Am I one smart cookie or what? :-)

  19. My name is John Abrams, son of Colonel Lewis Herbert Abrams, USMC, MIA/KIA Vietnam. I am writing to appreciate Colonel Purcell and Anne Purcell. Their story should make all Americans stand a little taller.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment here, John Abrams.
      It is my hope that people will see this and thereby will honor the memory of your father and all those who did not make it home from Vietnam.
      I think that more people should know about this book written by Colonel Purcell and his wife, Anne. They are a truly extraordinary couple and I agree, their story should make us all stand taller!