Small Town Veteran

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Reflection of a Homecoming

This post authorized, acknowledged, and made possible, by Jack Gell's wife, Rebecca, and daughter, Carol (

In a previous post, "A Homecoming", I excerpted part of another blogger's post containing a letter from Carol Gell Crowley describing an event she recently witnessed and her reaction to it. Carol has been kind enough to send me the entire text of that letter , which I present here.

Reflection of a Homecoming

I flew my three youngest children to New Orleans in mid August to visit some family and friends in Slidell, LA. Upon arriving to the airport, we were coming through the security area. I observed a rather large group with a FOX camera right outside that area. Looking at the "Welcome Home” signs, and matching red Marine T Shirts, and seeing the excitement bursting from each one of them, I quickly realized they were awaiting their own Marine's return from Iraq. I asked my children to stand beside me, and told them to watch what was happening. I told them a young man was coming home from war. I stood silently as I heard the happy chatter and anticipation.....I thought of a co-worker and Veteran, Johnny Privette, and knew he had been through this recently when his own son came home. Emotions were high.

"There he is! There he is!" I heard...The Fox news cameraman swirled his camera back and forth from family to the exiting passengers...I stood right with them, and felt almost like a part of their unit. My heart beat as I smiled, beaming with pride for a young man I did not know, for his great service to our country. My throat began to ache and tears formed in my eyes, but I stood fast and smiled just the same.  His wife and father could no longer stand back and ran to him as his foot stepped out of the secure area. They cried and smiled, and hugged, and kissed. 

I just stood there. My feet were implanted firmly and my body could not move. I realized my 7-year-old daughter was pulling on my shirt. I looked down at her to see a concerned little face. The boys were ready to go on. 

"Mommy, why are you crying?" she asked me in her sweet caring voice.

I smiled and hugged her tight and whispered in her ear, "Because he just came home to his family."

She hugged me back and said, "Are you sad because you daddy didn't ever come home from war when you were a baby?"

Her small and tender voice hit me like a bolt of lightening. My heart raced, my blood rushed into my head, reality flooded my insides. The tears became bigger, now streaming down my cheek pushing against my eyes from behind. In a barely audible voice, I managed to whisper, "...I am, honey, but I am just happy for these people."

My heart ached for something that could never be... If only my Mom could have been so blessed to have had the experience of a homecoming like this. Unfortunately, hers was tragic and painful, in the form of a telegram delivered and left alone with her grief and three small kids. My heart ached for her in a way that hurt beyond words. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind within mere seconds. My own father was killed in 1965 in the Ia Drang Battle in Vietnam. His dying words echoed in my ears "Tell my wife I love her...."  I thought about those words, shared by the authors of the book made into a movie, "We Were Soldiers", by Hal Moore and Joe Galloway. How their sad eyes looked when they first met my Mom, sister, brother and I. Thoughts of many Veterans I met who knew my father, and how they must feel about this war.  I said to myself,  "...My God..."

I immediately sensed an overwhelming presence within me that eased my yearning and racing mind. I was suddenly comforted, and thankful for so much.

I took my daughters hand and gathered my bags, glancing at the family who swarmed so close to this very fortunate hero. Tears and smiles were hard at work! The marine's eyes briefly met mine as he lifted his neck from one of his welcomes.  A fleeting glimpse of concern and wonder came across his face. He surely wondered who I was and why I was there, with tears in my eyes. He glanced around as if to see that I may be waiting too? That still instant of my life was surreal.

I took my daughters hand, put my arm around my son, and walked away, refocusing on the direction of meeting my party at baggage claim. I did not look back, but the image was engraved in my head. I explained to my kids how great it was for us to have seen such a joyous event.

I wonder today what that young Marine thought about me, there with his family and friends, standing with my own children. Perhaps he didn't think twice about it. Perhaps he just knows that one more person appreciates his service. Whatever it is, I feel like there is a reason that I was there at that very moment. I am all the more reminded to appreciate life, Freedom, Veterans who have served, and those who now serve and protect the greatest Nation on earth. I am the proud daughter of a Vet who died for us all. His memory and honor is with me always. I am continually disappointed to see so called "Americans" who do not respect or appreciate these sacrifices and try to rob us of freedoms and rights that our very Country was founded on. Shame on them.... To that I end: Let us not tolerate those who disrespect the red, white, and blue...and AS ALWAYS..."GOD BLESS AMERICA".

Carol Crowley    8/28/2003

Click here to see my complete SGT Jack Gell collection, which, due to the kindness of his family, is still a work in progress.

Jack_gell_face_2 Jackgell1stcav_1
Gellfamily65_2 Carolgellcrowley

Posted by Bill Faith on November 9, 2004 at 04:02 AM in Sgt_Gell | Permalink


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Note: I hate to have to do it but I'm turning on comment and trackback moderation. If you post a legitimate trackback or comment I'll do my best not to be too slow about approving it. If the only reason you're here is to advertise your porn, music, or penis enhancement site you can kiss my sweet ass.

I had the privledge to briefly meet Carol at the Sept. 12th, 2004 Rally in Washington, D.C. Also heard her deliver a hellava lesson to the antiwar activist, Bobby Mueller, before her excellent speech. Enjoyed both of them so much. Damn I love her! Bill, you have an outstanding site. I am also very proud of you and your service. I was very very near you at Kontum in 1972. Thanks for all you do. William B. Page Lafayette, LA. 1st. Cav. Div. (AM) 3rd. Brigade (Separate) B Co. 2/5th 71-72 til Standdown D Co. 1/12th 1972 til standdown see:

Posted by: William Page | Nov 10, 2004 11:31:18 PM

The picture of the family looks so much like my family when I was little. I would be the oldest girl. My father, who I loved dearly, went to Korea on July 31, 1950, and he was killed there on September 14, 1950. I still miss him so much. He's buried at West Point Cemetery, and I was able to finally visit his grave just last year.

Posted by: Molly Whitcomb | Sep 12, 2008 5:48:07 PM

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