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Cyrus Cassidy #45437

Oh, how we forget

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A lot of people don't realize that today, September 17th, is Constitution Day, the anniversary of the adoption of our beloved constitution.


As some of you know, I'm a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, a patriotic service organization, for which we have to genealogically prove descent from a Revolutionary War patriot.  Each applicant has to provide all the documentation leading back to the patriot, and it is checked and verified by a team of professional genealogists at the national headquarters before membership is granted. 


Our record keeping systems are antiquated, so the national office is creating the Patriot Research System, a database of all those approved applications, including their lineages.  The problem is, the approved applications are typewritten and scanned, so there is no easy way to transfer all the data into the database.  A team of over 600 volunteers, including yours truly, is currently undertaking all that data entry manually.

In any event, I was filling one out this morning for a member in my chapter that was approved back in 2014.  Something jumped off the page at me.
While filling out the data for his wife, who was born in 1970, I immediately noticed she had died on 05 Jan 2006.  "Wow, that's pretty young to die," I told myself as I pecked away at the keyboard into the system.  After having done a number of these, I see occasional young deaths, especially as we get earlier in time.  But it's rare to see it in the 20th - 21st century.  And, of course, she was also a mother of four.
I read the next block of data to input into the system -- place of death:  An Najaf, Iraq.  
I guess that filled in all the blanks I needed.  Between being a soldier and a retired police officer, I've buried a total of 19 friends.  Every time I'm involved in a flag retirement ceremony (except when Scouts are involved because it's pretty heavy), I read the names of all 19 whenever we burn the red stripes.  The red stripes symbolize blood shed in defense of our nation.  But I can't imagine what our compatriot must have gone through when an officer showed up at his door to make the notification.  
Then I got to the end of the application and noticed he didn't even sign it; it was signed by his mother in his place.  His occupation was listed as, "U.S. Army officer (deceased)."  That means the four children listed on the application lost both of their parents.  
Let's not forget how we won the right to have our freedom, nor what it takes to preserve it.  
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My business partner and her husband (she was 81, he was 84, both had lived in the USA since 1957) became citizens on this date in 2014.  We took them to supper and I asked why it took so long.  Eric looked at me and grinned.  "Ja!  Vell, it seemed be time.  Ve haff been here for most of our lives and it seemed da right ting to do."  I was so proud of them I about forgot to tell them we were moving to Arizona.


Then surprise #2:  It turns out they owned a time share in Sedona and spent three weeks twice a year there.


Eric has passed on and Hanna still stays in touch.

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