Tag Archives: War Heroes

Feeling Blue…Red, White & Blue!

On a quick trip to the store to buy some graduation cards, I noticed an early display of July 4th holiday-ware. How could I not? Colorful clothing, picnic items, streamers, banners & bunting, all featuring the Stars & Stripes. A cornucopia of creative whatnots reaching out to rev up my patriotic heart.

Of course, I began to plan. Now where was that recipe for Barbara Bush’s Red, White and Blue Cobbler? The one I – shhhh – shortcutted & made with canned cherry & blueberry pie filling? But the dish had scored at every potluck, served up warm with vanilla-bean ice cream. Made one’s taste buds stand at attention & salute. For the next bake, perhaps I’d tap my inner chef’s shoulder & use fresh ingredients. A longer process, but the effort ought to result in a higher-ranking of deliciousness. Right?


I remembered our town’s tradition to set off our own fireworks. The night before the big 4th celebration in a nearby city, locals pack the stands at the fairgrounds in anticipation. The light show never fails to fill the sky with glory & uplift our spirits. As a bonus, the spectacle is easily seen from my own back yard. Just one requirement – a lawn chair.

Fireworks Many

A Navy brat, my heart has always swelled at anything that highlights our nation’s history & fight for freedom here & abroad. Knowing of my military connection & pride in my dad’s service, my friend Georgina (Geo) & I had swapped stories of our father’s military service records. Her father – an Army veteran of WWII, Korea, & Vietnam & a Bronze Star recipient. My dad also served in WWII (a Pearl Harbor survivor) & the Korean War, & as a career Naval officer for twenty-seven years.

Geo, a master seamstress & crafter, had already created an exquisite heart with a simple anchor embroidered on one side, cut from an antique crazy-quilt. After the heart was sewn, she set it aside for a while. But once we’d chatted about our personal heroes, Geo finished it up & sent it my way. A surprise gift.

Geo's Anchor Heart2

When I unwrapped the beautiful heart, tied with wide, lavender ribbon, I didn’t think of the Navy link first. Instead, I thought of Jesus as the Anchor of our hearts. Touched, I did a little research of its meaning during Victorian times – when the quilt was made – and learned the anchor symbolized hope. According to the scripture referenced:

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil…,” Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)

Not until I received an email from Geo, “When I saw it (the heart) again the other day, it just spoke to me of your father being in the Navy…,” did I see the rest of the significance.

On this 4th of July, I shall not only celebrate Independence Day, but also honor my dad by hanging the anchor heart in a prominent place as a tribute to those who have gone before. And as reminder to never give up hope.

Thanks, Geo. Let freedom ring!

Sparker w-little flag.2


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Today is Dec. 7 – according to Franklin D. Roosevelt, a “date that shall live in infamy.” The same day in 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and 3,500 Americans were killed or wounded.

My dad was there. John H. Elliott, a young Navy man, recalled eating a ham sandwich, jawing with his buddies, when the blasts began. Daddy and the other men rushed outside to find the source and be of service. In minutes, he was issued a gun and told to seek cover from the bullets, bombs, and shrapnel exploding everywhere. And so began World War II for America.

And for my dad.

Daddy was a bombardier and flew through WWII and the Korean War. He was never wounded. A blessed man. Many were not.

Recently, I revisited WWII history when I wrote my mystery, Medals in the Attic. There was much research needed to write an accurate and believable story about my story’s hidden war hero. As I read the true tales of the men who fought and died, I was often moved to tears. My heart swelled with pride at their bravery and sacrifice.

America is now sixty-nine years away from that blighted day at Pearl Harbor. And many of our survivors survive no more. Few media outlets even remember to mark the day. But we mustn’t forget.

I won’t ever forget. Or cease to be grateful for the ultimate sacrifice of these men and women. And their legacy.

That includes you, Daddy. My heart salutes you.

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