Army Mom’s Safe Haven

Jim Vible

Jim Vible: D-Day Remembrance Toast

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands; One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

On this day in history 57 years ago, my father and all of his brothers participated in the Normandy invasion. They did so in support of the “Pledge of Allegiance” and the belief in America’s way of life as promised in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

They were raised by my grandparents with the watchwords, “In God We Trust”. Their home environment fastened patriotism and love of America where God and Country were a way of life.

My grandmother, the matriarch of our family, would say, “Without God there would be no army and without the army, there would be no United States of America.” That philosophy had been passed down from generation to generation starting with our participation in the Revolutionary War. I would tell you, like then, that steadfast tradition is alive and well with our family.

When I returned home from Viet Nam on a 30-day leave, I found my beloved country in great turmoil. Like most of you, I felt afraid, sad and betrayed. I needed answers and I needed them quickly because in less than 30 days I would be back to the war that was tearing my country apart.

So I turned to the wisest, most gentle person I have ever known, “Mom Mom” Vible. I truly believe she was an angel sent from above to guide and walk among mere mortals.

She told me that our country was like a family and it was not something you loved some of the time but ALL of the time. She likened our country to the birth of a child. The American Revolution represented the labor pains and the following 197 years were nothing more than the passage of that child from birth to adulthood. She went on to explain that at some point, our country, as a child, will rebel and question authority causing us to feel disappointment, anger and sadness. However, through it all, “love” will prevail. One of her favorite sayings was, “Anyone who couldn’t love a child, couldn’t love anything” and it was then that I came to understand that this phrase had a double meaning. “Mom Mom” went on to say that, “It’s more than just a right to serve your country. It should be considered an HONOR and a PRIVILEGE.”

At that moment I was able to transcend those mixed emotions that had been weighing so heavily on my conscience through her wisdom, which radiated from her like light and warmth of the sun. It was the answer to all questions, omnipotent in the perfect form. Since that time I have never questioned my relationship to my country or my commitment to the Viet Nam War. To this day I thank God for blessing not only me, but all of my family and relatives, for this tremendous influence on our lives.

With that in mind I salute my Uncle Wick (101st AB), Uncle Stanley and Uncle Paul (Big Red One) and last, but not least, my father. He was only 15 and couldn’t get in the service, so he joined the Merchant Marines to help deliver supplies and equipment, both during the invasion and throughout the war. Later, he enlisted into the Army and fought in Korea, where he was wounded twice and cited for bravery twice with a Bronze Star (w/V) and Silver Star.

In closing I would like to propose a toast to all veterans:

“Here’s to us and those like us. Damn few left.”

God Bless All. Semper fi.

I will not disgrace the soldier’s arms, nor abandon the comrade who stands at my side; but whether alone or with many, I will fight to defend things sacred and profane. I will hand down my country not lessened, but larger and better than I have received it. Athenian Oath

“I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire