Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Thoughts by LeAnn

As a very young girl raised in Richfield, Utah; I loved the Fourth of July. I felt the spirit of patriotism when we attended various events in the town to honor this great nation. Other moments of learning occurred on each Memorial Day. As a family we would prepare for decorating the family graves by mowing our lawn and saving the grass clippings to place upon the graves along with flower arrangements. At that time the Sigurd Cemetery was not landscaped with grass. I often heard my Dad tell how he was left as an orphan to be raised by his Maternal grandmother. My dear mother would remind him that she didn't want to be buried in the Sigurd Cemetery.
Today I choose to honor my grandfather Herbert Gledhill who gave his life on the fields of France in the First World War. He faught hard for the freedoms that we enjoy today.Here is short history of his life.
On December 20, 1911 Herbert married his childhood sweetheart, Maggie Short McMillan, in the Manti Temple. Herbert was 21 and his bride was 17. Maggie was the daughter of John and Mary McMillan, also residents of Sigurd. The newlyweds built a small home on the McMillan property and settled in for what they hoped would be a long and happy life. However that was not to be the case.
On the 24th of Nov. 1912 the couple were blessed with their first child and named him Max Herbert Gledhill. But Max only lived a little over two years and died on Feb 6, 1914 of pneumonia and pleurisy and was buried in the Sigurd cemetery. Two years later on August 15, 1916 a second child, again a boy, was born. They named him Millan France Gledhill after his maternal grandfather. Millan was my father.
But all was not well. Maggie only lived a little over a year after the birth of Millan. She died in Salt Lake City on January 11, 1917. Her death certificate indicates a cause of death as Nephritis. She was brought home and buried next to her son Max in the Sigurd cemetery. The newspaper account of her death is poignant in describing the family tragedy and the overwhelming grief. 


This left young Herbert, 27, a widower with a 17  month old son to care for. He had lost both a wife and a child within three years. On June 5th, 1917, Herbert Gledhill registered for the Army. He did not seek any exemption for service based on hardship.
Herbert seemed driven to enlist in the army and fight for his country in the Great War in Europe. There may possibly have been more than that driving him. A report in the local newspaper indicated his mother prevailed on him to wait for a few months for his young son’s sake. He did so, but when the call came he went to Camp Lewis and was assigned to the 26th infantry, Company M, and sent to the trenches of Europe. He fought in Flanders and Piccadilly and spent a total of seven months fighting the Huns in the trenches of France. In a letter home he described the nights "like a great lightning storm at Fish lake, only 100 times worse". He died in battle on June 14th, 1918. The Richfield Reaper reported his death as heroic and noble and the “First Offering of Sevier County on the Altar of Freedom.” His body was returned to the land of his birth with great ceremony and he was buried a hero along side his sweetheart in the Sigurd cemetery. Short History of my grandfather by a cousin Brad Ogden
There have been many others loved ones that have served in our arm forces through the years. My Uncle Kirtley Bell served in he World War II. My brother Mac Millan Gledhill served in the Navy for 4 years in the 1950's.
My son in law Brandon C. Workman served in the National Guard and was deployed to Iraq for 18 months. 
I was raised in a family that honored our Flag, National Anthem and our great country. The scriptures are clear that our Nation will be in peril. I always feel sad when the National Anthem is played and a few choose to not place their hand over their hearts.  The instances of disrespecting our Flag have increased. How sad to know that many do not believe in the God of this land and desire to take God out of our country. We must all pray daily for those Men and Woman who serve our country so faithfully desiring only to help us preserve the freedoms that we have. 
Do to circumstances I am not able to decorate my parents and grandparents graves this Memorial Day so I have a dear cousin doing that for our family. I have thus chosen to honor my parents by sharing with you a couple of precious memories.
One of my favorite memories of my father was a day that I visited with him in a care center a short time before he passed away on Oct. 15, 2001 from Alzheimer and complications from a hip surgery. My Dad and Mom loved to dance. Through the years he would always grab my mom and many times myself and whirl us around the floor with the music that was playing. I loved having him dance with me. On this particular day he still remembered me. We went into the activity room and the good oldies were playing and he took my Mom in his arms and they had their last dance. Next he grabbed me and I will treasure that moment forever. I miss you Dad. 
My dear Mother lived with us the last few months of her life. I treasure the moments I had with her and only wish I could have been with her more. My mother always like to look nice. She would never go anywhere without make-up or her hair done. She had just turned 90 years old and we had a huge Birthday celebration for her. A few short days after this event she became weaker and spent more time in her bed. One Sunday I had left her comfortably in bed while I attended a Sacrament meeting. I ran home to check on her. She called to me as I came in the door and told me she was watching an info commercial on TV. She asked me what I thought of the product called Sheer Coverage. I told her I had used it and in fact had used it on her when I was helping her get ready for her birthday party. She then said; LeAnn why don't you order me some. I assured her I had enough to share with her. Only a few short weeks later she passed away.  Mom thanks for teaching me how to be a wife, mother and to care about looking my best as I am sure Heavenly Father wants all of his daughters to do.
May we all remember our loved one that have passed beyond who have touched our hearts and been examples to us through the years. May the tears shed on this Memorial Day be a reminder of this great nation and all of us who love it and serve our God. Indeed; God Bless America. May we be safe in the arms of the Savior's Eternal Love. 


Tamara said...

Thanks for sharing this. You are a great writer and can express the feelings that many of us feel but can't put on paper.
Take care,
Love Tammy

Marie said...

A beautiful post and tribute Leann of your family members this Memorial day. Freedom comes at a price and I am so grateful for the price that has been paid for the freedoms I enjoy today. xxoo

singing/granny said...

Such a lovely account! Thanks for sharing!

Stucki's said...

Love,Love,Love this tribute Aunt LeAnn!!! I miss Grandma & Grandpa Gledhill SO MUCH!! Isn't the gospel a beautiful most sacred thing? I know that someday I will see them again and be able to embrace them once again. Thanks for this tribute and for sharing your blog with us! Love you lots!!:)

The Farmer's Daughter said...

What a great post, LeAnn! As someone else said, you are a wonderful writer.

Take care,

Sue said...

What a lovely post about your family and the feelings you have for our country. I really enjoyed reading it.



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