This is my paternal great-grandfather, the Rev. Percy Coulthurst, who was a British subject doing missionary work in New Brunswick when he enlisted in the Canadian Army to serve as a Chaplain in France during World War I (1914-1918).
This is the wedding photo of my paternal grandparents, Leslie J. Vernell and Sylvia Coulthurst. Grandfather was a Colonel in the British Indian Army in Burma and India during World War II (1939-1945), attached to a Gurkha Regiment at the end of the War. He walked out of Burma on foot following the Japanese invasion.
Gran was a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS), the women’s branch of the Royal Navy, assigned to India, then to Britain. The ship on which she was traveling back to Britain was torpedoed and she lost all of her material possessions when the ship was lost at sea.
This is my maternal grandfather, Captain Walter J. Egan, who was a Sandy Hook Pilot for his entire working life. As a Commander in the United States Coast Guard during World War II, he and his fellow pilots worked around the clock to pilot three times the usual number of pilot boats to safely guide convoy vessels bound for Europe for the war effort. My mother recalls his stories of sightings of German submarines in New York Harbor.
I am very proud of my family members, and their colleagues, for their sacrifices. There are some who believe that I shouldn’t be celebrating “senseless acts of war” in this way. I say they should be grateful for people like my grandparents who served their countries so that they (the critics) now have the freedom to run their mouths and speak their minds.
I am also proud of my children, DD and DS8, who participated in a Remembrance Day ceremony at their elementary school on Friday. My oldest son also celebrated his 14th birthday on 11/11/11. Despite all of life’s challenges, each one of my children was born with the bravery, strength and fortitude of their ancestors, which I am confident will serve them well as they grow and mature into equally wonderful adults.
Lest we forget.
If we do not remember, then who will?