In past celebrations of real world heroes, we’ve had some beautiful love stories and also spoke of the family sacrifice necessary for those who love the men and women who serve. Today, we are privileged to have both of those elements in our story.
Private 1st class, James Lee Phillips, turned 18 in July, 1944 and was drafted the following month. After completing 17 weeks of training, he was then allowed to go home for 7 days. With only one week to see his family and loved ones, he then said goodbye as he headed to Europe via the ship Queen Elizabeth where he became a truck driver for the Army. He served overseas for 18 months.
During his time away, his family – knowing how much he must be missing home – would send him packages with deli meat/sausages. When he finally returned home, he met a woman who he fell madly in love with. They had their first date on Valentine’s Day. He took her home to meet his parents who were delighted to discover that she worked at the same deli his mother shopped at to send him the sausage. The family fell in love with her just as Private Phillips had and they were wed St. Patrick’s Day the same year they met (If you aren’t sure of the math…that’s 31 days later!!). The marriage has withstood the test of time and they are still married today, 63 years later.
As is the case in many families, the desire to serve runs from generation to generation. This year, James’ grandson, who served in the ROTC through college and received the ranking of 2nd Lieutenant was commissioned into the US Army National Guard. As part of the ceremony, he gave his first salute to his Grandfather, James Lee Phillips, World War II Veteran. His mother attests to the fact there wasn’t a dry eye in the place! They received a standing ovation.
We thank this week’s real world hero, Private Phillips, for serving during World War II and for instilling the same call to duty and desire to serve in the generations that followed.
How many of you come from families were multiple generations have served?