Memorial Day has always been one of those special days to me. While we honor those who fought for our country every day, on this day it just seems to be even more important to honor them. For those who served and are part of my family, I think about them a lot on this day.
As far as I can tell, the first Gonyea in my branch of the family to ever be in the United States Armed Forces was my great-grandfather, Nelson Warren Gonyea (1912-1989). He joined the Army in World War II, but never saw combat action. From stories that my grandfather told me, he was about to be shipped out to Japan when his father (Warren Daniel Gonyea, 1883-1945) passed away after being hit by a car. Looking at the dates, it appears it would have been after the war officially ended and as part of occupation of Japan. My great-grandfather ended up spending over 30 years in the Army Reserves stationed in Rutland, VT.
I think of one of my other great-grandfathers too, Edwin Franklin Smart (1910-2003). He served in World War II against my great-grandmother’s wishes, figuring that the best way to protect his family was by protecting the country. He nearly lost his life when an artillery shell hit right near him during the Battle of the Bulge. He spent several years in hospitals recovering from his injuries. One of his arms never was the same due to the injuries he suffered.
Edwin’s grandfather, William Smart, served in the Civil War on the union side.
My great-grandfather Amos Currier served in World War I, although I know very little about his involvement in it. I’ve only seen a couple of photos of him in his military uniform.
Probably the most famous person in my family tree that served in the military is Captain John Parker. Yes, Captain Parker of “Parker’s Revenge” who fought in the first battles of the American Revolution.