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Tag Archive | "WWII"

A Thousand Letters Home, the journey of the letters


Tonight (Thursday) at Cedar Springs Middle School

Following the 2006 death of her father, Aarol W. “Bud” Irish, of Saginaw, MI, Teresa Irish opened the Army trunk that had resided in the family home her entire life. There, nestled in row after row, were her dad’s nearly 1,000 letters from WWII. Visited only by him over the course of six decades, the letters were postmarked from Nov. 1942 to Dec. 1945.

The Cedar Springs Public Library, in partnership with the American Legion Auxiliary Glen Hill Post 287, invites residents to a special prograrm tonight, Thursday, October 22, at 7 p.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School, 4873 16 Mile Road. A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish, will take you on an engaging and inspirational journey based on her father’s 1,000 letters from WWII.

The fragile and yellowed pages were written to Bud’s parents back in Hemlock, MI, and to the sweetheart who would later become his wife. From lonesome, moonlit nights listening to the Hit Parade, to the foxholes and front lines in Germany where Bud would receive the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart, to correspondence with the heartbroken mothers whose sons died by his side, this is a moving and historic story of life and loss, hope and perseverance, unwavering faith, and true love. A Thousand Letters Home is comprised of 320 of these poignant letters and 104 corresponding photographs.

A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish.

A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish.

The firsthand account through the eyes, heart and words of one soldier mirrors the journeys of many who served in WWII. From training camps across the U.S.A., to Ports of Embarkation where they boarded ships and crossed the ocean to fight on foreign soil, millions of young Americans were abruptly pulled from civilian life and thrust into the unfamiliar world of a military at war. At every opportunity, Bud poured his thoughts and feelings into his letters, all amidst reassuring words to loved ones a world away. Unable or perhaps reluctant to recount what they had experienced, many veterans chose to spare their loved ones the detailed atrocities of war – these would be their own personal burdens to bear for the remainder of their lives. Bud foreshadowed this in a letter to his parents written from Europe on February 4, 1945, “…Heaven knows they [soldiers] don’t want anything more on earth than to get it over and go back to their loved ones…We don’t want anything extra when we get home, but just want to find everything as we left it and forget everything that’s happened or we’ve seen over here…” 

Irish’s entertaining storytelling blends humor and history to leave audiences laughing, crying, and reminiscing. She reaches across generations with a little something for everyone. Lest we forget.  It’s a presentation you won’t want to miss!

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Edward J. Smith, age 89, of Sand Lake passed away at his residence on August 22, 2015.  He was born April 12, 1926 in Lakeview, the son of John and Margaret Smith.  As a teenager, Ed worked for his brother, Francis, at Smitty’s Garage in Lakeview.  He also worked delivering coal in the Lakeview area.  He served his country in the US Army during WWII and was a member of the Sand Lake VFW Post.  After the war he worked for Dohler Jarvis in Grand Rapids and Toledo as a die cast repair man, retiring after 35 years. Ed never lost his love for auto mechanics and was noted in Sand Lake for being able to fix most anything.  He was always willing to help neighbors and the Village of Sand Lake with repairs.  Many children learned how to repair their bicycles from Ed.  Ed loved to fish, hunt and camp. He enjoyed riding motorcycle and fast cars. He also loved to restore old cars and tractors.  Ed and his wife Laura could often be found sitting on the swing in their front yard.  In his senior years Ed rarely missed Friday music at the Howard City Senior Center. Surviving are his wife Laura; children, Dan (Jane) Smith of Pierson, Margaret Merritt of Sand Lake, Sandra (Harold) McConnell of Sparta, Edward (Karin) Jr. Smith of Ohio, Randy (Roxie) Smith of Texas, John (Cheryl) Smith of Sand Lake, Lori (Scott) Wesche of Howard City; 23 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild; one sister Dorothy Briggs of Muskegon; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Francis and Ray Smith and one sister Charlotte Rogalewski. Funeral services will take place on Saturday, August 29th at 11 am at the Heckman Funeral Home in Howard City with burial in the Pierson Cemetery, where Military Honors will be conducted by the Howard City VFW Post.  The family will greet friends on Friday, August 28th  from 2-4 and 6-8 pm and prior to services on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Howard City Senior Center, 132 E. Edgerton, PO Box 399, Howard City, MI 49329  Attention Delores Becker.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City

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Operation overlord

First-Baptist-church-currenPastor Jim Howard

First Baptist Church

233 S. Main, Cedar Springs


On June 6, 1944, nearly 160,000 allied troops stormed the shores of Normandy, France in what is arguably the beginning of the end of German domination of Europe in WWII. Over 12,000 aircraft and 7,000 vessels were involved in the operation. Five divisions of allied troops hit the beaches and three divisions were dropped behind enemy lines. By the first of September, nearly 3 million boots were on the ground, Paris was liberated and Germany was in full retreat!

Most people can only imagine the fear in the hearts and minds of those men who stood behind the ramps on their Higgin’s Boats or stood at the door of their aircraft ready to jump into the darkness! Fear can be a mind numbing and life changing experience…at least it is for most people. For some, fear can become a paralyzing agent, freezing us into inaction. Please understand, in some circumstances, this can be a healthy thing as it may keep us from doing something we shouldn’t. But for many, fear causes them to avoid responsibilities and actions that are necessary in the performance of their duty!

Many years ago, I had a USMC DI who ingrained in us the need to “trust” our training to see us through those circumstances in which you didn’t know what to do or where to turn—wise counsel for any generation of fighting man and woman. God gave us the same counsel long before we had DI’s when He said, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)  In other words, don’t try flying by the seat of your pants, trust the truth…it’ll never fail you.  God never promised to deliver us from the tribulations of life, but He has promised to walk beside us through them, and at times, He will carry us through them (1 Cor. 10:13).  I’m reminded of Psalm 119:105 in which the Lord said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (ESV) God has given us sufficient light to see where we’re going and how to get there…the key is in the word “feet” which denotes action and the word “path” which reflects the objective.

Don’t allow fear to rob you of the opportunity to serve the Lord. Step out by faith and trust Him!  Spend time “drilling” as you memorize and meditate on the wonderful and eternal truths of His Word. Then when the unexpected trauma’s and tragedies of life occur, you will not find yourself paralyzed by fear.

Be cautious of overconfidence as well “…and do not lean on your own understanding.” Most of my own failures come during those times in which I try to function within the realm of my own self-confidence! It’s in these times I need to trust in His truth and His ways even more…and not in my own strength and abilities.


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