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My Eisenhower story

June 09, 2024 06:13AM
My dad was an Army helicopter pilot. In the spring 1960, he got transferred to Nellingen, Germany and reported there leaving my mom and us kids behind in the U.S. so we could finish the school year at which point we would join him for a 3-year tour. There was a Summit Conference scheduled to take place in Paris in May with leaders from the U.S., Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France.
The movie Bridge of Spies (2015) is about the U-2 spy incident that made the conference fall apart. Anyhow, my dad was one of the pilots who flew Secretary of State, Dean Rusk along with other government dignitaries on the journey to the conference. As a thank you, President Eisenhower gave the pilots a presidential medal which is now considered to be a cold war artifact. My dad was so honored and proud to receive it that he packaged it up and sent it my mom while we were still in Wichita. I was in the 3rd grade and my teacher had been my dad's teacher when HE was a kid. I took the medal to school for show-and-tell. While I was at recess... someone stole the medal out of my desk. I was so upset that I cried for the rest of the day. I was afraid to go home after school. I just knew my mom was gonna give me a spanking I'd never forget.

I walked into the house with a tree limb I'd found in the yard so she could give me what I had coming. I could barely get out what happened I was crying so hard. My mom was not happy. She was sympathetic. We went back up to the school and looked everywhere for the medal. We talked to the principal, the custodian, other teachers. Of course, nobody had seen it. When we got back home, I asked if maybe I could write a letter to President Eisenhower asking him to replace the medal which had been stolen. My mom said;... it doesn't hurt to try. I wrote a letter addressed to President Eisenhower at the White House and told him what happened and how important that medal was to my dad. My letter was about 3 pages long so my mom helped me shorten it. About a month later, I got a letter from President Eisenhower on White House stationery, signed by him... with another medal! OH HAPPY DAY!! My mom said.. This medal does not leave the house again and for the next 50 years, it never did. . My dad had his medal back, but I had the letter from President Eisenhower and it became my most prized possession.

When I was in college, I lived with my grandparents for a time. I got a summer job working at a camp in Massachusetts and stored all my stuff in their basement: mementos, scrapbooks, yearbooks, diaries, important papers, etc. While I was away, their basement flooded and, ... you guessed it, the letter from President Eisenhower was destroyed and could not be salvaged. I was sick. Still am.
There was nothing I could do about it. Nothing. Years later, my dad came down with lung cancer and his health was failing. During one of my visits to see him, he presented me with the medal. My dad told me that he wanted me to have the medal because of my part in what it took to get it. My dad died in Aug. 2013. That medal had a special meaning to me and my dad that my brothers and sister just wouldn't have.

I treasure it now more than ever and keep it under lock and key. Here's a pic of it.










Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2024 06:48AM by MamaRAMa.
SubjectAuthorViewsPosted

  June 6th D-day

SeattleRam146June 05, 2024 03:36PM

  Re: June 6th D-day

JamesJM58June 05, 2024 04:41PM

  Agree. Shows respect and most of all...

Ramgator81June 06, 2024 04:00AM

  CNN: World War II veteran Robert Persichitti dies at 102 while traveling to France for D-Day’s 80th anniversary Attachments

MamaRAMa60June 06, 2024 12:49PM

  well thats to bad

IowaRam61June 06, 2024 01:12PM

  I like The Longest Day more than Saving Private Ryan.

Ramgator54June 06, 2024 04:13PM

  Re: I like The Longest Day more than Saving Private Ryan.

SeattleRam26June 06, 2024 04:31PM

  Re: I like The Longest Day more than Saving Private Ryan.

MamaRAMa66June 06, 2024 05:48PM

  A TON of very big name Actors and they played their roles well.

Ramgator64June 07, 2024 03:34AM

  As a film

IowaRam37June 07, 2024 01:50PM

  Red Buttons...That very scene crossed my mind.....

Ramgator30June 07, 2024 05:10PM

  and not a Lead amongst them

IowaRam32June 07, 2024 01:37PM

  Eisenhower in The Longest Day

MamaRAMa36June 07, 2024 02:02PM

  I can get that

IowaRam26June 08, 2024 07:51AM

  My Eisenhower story Attachments

MamaRAMa46June 09, 2024 06:13AM

  great story Mama!

ferragamo7922June 09, 2024 06:40AM

  That is so cool, Mama!

Ramgator33June 09, 2024 09:57AM

  Fantastic story....

JamesJM27June 09, 2024 09:58AM

  that was beautiful nm

Atlantic Ram23June 09, 2024 01:34PM

  did you ever learn how many of those were handed out

IowaRam26June 13, 2024 12:50PM

  Re: did you ever learn how many of those were handed out

MamaRAMa14June 13, 2024 04:25PM

  love that story.....what a memory nm

21Dog19June 15, 2024 04:53AM