Day 17: Military Records

Herbert K. PililaauToday we celebrate Veteran's Day.  We honor all those that have served their fellow men and women in the different branches of the military.  What a blessing it is to be apart of this great country.  It has been great to see the many "thank you" and pictures posted on facebook today, but I thought for today's daily challenge we could take it one step further.  Let's learn a little bit more about those that have fought in the many different wars throughout our own history of America and throughout the World by finding their military records and stories.

While visiting Hawaii this past summer, I found a letter about my Great Uncle Herbert Pililaau who was the first Hawaiian to receive the medal of honor.  He also received the Purple Heart.  You can read about him on wikipedia or read a past article about him here.  

It was a treasure to find this letter that was written to one of my Hawaiian cousins.  The soldier who wrote this letter back in 2006 was also my Great Uncle's platoon officer in Korea.  This is what he said about how my Uncle died.

"The day before Herbert was killed, we had just taken over a ridge and I lost my radioman.  That evening Herbert was with his squad at the end of the ridge, which ended with a steep drop-off.  The North Koreans with the Chinese attacked by climbing up and fought the squad with wave after wave.  Herbert by sacrificing his life saved me and many others. 

Until just recently, it has been very difficult to talk about that night, even to my own wife.  I visited a Korean War Museum here in Illinois and found the write up that I had written, commending him for a medal."

He closes his letter telling about how he has been married for 59 years, has 20 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.  He had left two children when he went to war in Korea.  I can't help but reflect on how he could of left a widow and his only posterity would of been his 2 children with never have as many grandchildren or being able to be apart of their lives had it not been the sacrifice of my brave and fearless Uncle.  I can't wait to meet him one day and through my arms around Uncle Herbert.  

To read what life was like for a soldier during the Korean War, read a past article that I wrote about my Great Uncle Herbert Pililaau

To get started on your daily task, go to Civil War Records and see if you can find any ancestors that fought during the civil war.  Also, FamilySearch just posted an article about the other military records available.  I love looking at the WWII draft registration cards and seeing what my ancestor's signature looks like.  Go find yours tonight! 

Veteran"s Day Family History

In honor of my family featured above, I am proud to be an American and part of this amazing and patriotic family!  Thank you for your sacrifice in my behalf.

Below is a touching story about family history and war.  May we all strive for peace and happiness as well as stand for truth at all costs.

Find out more about the Preserve the Pension Project today.