OUR LIFE IN 3D

The Home of Daddy's Day Dare! ~ I am just trying to stay above water

I need some advice…

Have you ever had one of those moments, those ‘Toys In The Attic’ moments you hear about where somebody finds something really Incredible or valuable, like lost baseball cards, a forgotten valuable painting or heirloom that they never knew they had? Well last night Dylan and I found my gem that I never knew I had.

Last night Dylan and I were looking through the dresser in my bedroom and ran across my old childhood piggy bank. Ah, ‘Elephant’ bank if you really look at it.

bank

I have had this since I can remember. I kept my fancy coins that were given to me back in the day. And so Dylan takes it and opens it up and starts exploring my treasures. Eventually she ran across a broken stainless steel bracelet with a person’s name on it. It was a POW bracelet that I wore as a child during the Vietnam War.

I wore this $2.00 bracelet everyday for about a year. I didn’t know who the POW was on the bracelet but I did wonder what happened to him? Was he Army, Air Force, Marine, Navy? Was he a prisoner? Was he missing? Was he still alive?

So I thought about him, prayed as a 10-year-old knows how to pray, and really always hoped he was alive and doing OK. He was in my thoughts and prayers. But really, so were Little League, school and trips to the beach.

Then the war ended and I never heard his name. I lived in a small town in PA and I watched and I listened but I never heard a word about Mr. Gruters.

Where was that darned Internet when you need it!

And so the war ended and I reluctantly took the bracelet off and put it in my piggy bank, not knowing what else to do.

Can you make out that date?

Can you make out that date?

This POW bracelet stayed in my bank after I left home in my early 20s along with all my coins; silver dollars, Bi-Centennial quarters and dollars and the like. It stayed in that bank as I moved up and down the east coast, through all the dozens of apartments and now houses I moved into as I made my way through life. I couldn’t understand the significance of the bracelet but I felt it represented a ‘Life’ of someone who fought hard for my country. .

Not familiar with the POW Bracelets?

Here is what my Wiki says about them: ” a nickel-plated or copper commemorative bracelet engraved with the name, rank, and loss date of an American serviceman captured or missing during the Vietnam War.

The bracelets were first created in May 1970 [1] with the intention that American POWs in Vietnam not be forgotten. The bracelets sold for $2.50 or $3.00. Those who wore the bracelets vowed to leave them on until the soldier named on the bracelet, or their remains, were returned to America.” And that’s what I did

Guy

So with Dylan sitting by my side I Googled the name on the bracelet, after all these years, to see if I could ever find the outcome to this mysterious GI honored on my bracelet. To my surprise the name I was typing, Capt. Guy Gruters, came up in the search before I was even done typing it.

I thought who is this man?

Who was this man?

Is he famous somehow?

You know what? There are lots of pages on the Internet about this great man. This man, whose bracelet I wore, now does motivational speeches based on his captivity and surviving it. His speeches are based around:

Forgiveness

Leadership

Teamwork

Conversion / Finding God in a Prison Camp

Here is a link to my Mr. Gruters and 2 other POW’s appearing on an ABC Memorial Day Tribute to POW’s of the Vietnam War.

Capt. Charlie Plumb, Col. Lee Ellis, Capt. Guy Gruters

There are many pages about him, too numerous to list here. Each one is filled with incredible stories depicting the courage of this man on my bracelet.

I decided to read his Wikipedia page first. To my delight and astonishment I found he was not only alive but thriving!

Here is a brief bio about the name of the man I wore on my bracelet from Wilki:

Guy Gruters was raised in New Jersey where he spent his childhood trapping muskrat, camping, hunting and Scouting (Eagle Scout Rank awarded).

He won acceptance to the United States Air Force Academy and graduated with a BS in Engineering Science (Summa Cum Laude, ranked 7th in his graduating class overall, #1 in Engineering Science.) He then went on to Purdue University and completed a Master’s degree in Astronautical Engineering in less than one year.

After Undergraduate Pilot Training and fighter gunnery school, he volunteered for Vietnam and served six years, more than five years of which was as a POW. During his flight operations as a Forward Air Controller in the first 10 months, Guy flew more than 400 combat missions, first for the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

As a copilot of the two-seat F-100F, Gruters was shot down twice. The first shoot down required a parachute water landing less than one mile offshore near the North Vietnamese city of Dong Hoi while under fire from the enemy’s coastal guns in November 1967. North Vietnamese boats were prevented from intercepting the downed pilots by strafing U.S. F-4 fighter-bombers, First Lieutenant Gruters and Captain Charles Neel were rescued by two USAF HH-3E Sea King helicopter crews based 60 miles away while under heavy fire.[1]

Gruters was shot down for the second time on December 20, 1967. He and fellow pilot, Colonel Robert R. Craner were captured and imprisoned in the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) among other camps. Upon their initial incarceration, Gruters and Craner cared for Lance Sijan before Sijan succumbed to wounds and torture in January 1968.[1]    (which is an incredible story itself)

Gruters spent 5 years and 3 months, over 1900 days, as a prisoner of war before his release in 1973.

Decorations:

Guy Gruters’ decorations include more than thirty combat awards, with two Silver Stars, two DFCs, two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the POW Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, 20 Air Medals and other medals.

Guy Gruters’ testimony was instrumental in Lance Sijan receiving the Medal of Honor posthumously in 1976. Guy Gruters’ story was described in the book, “Bury Us Upside Down,”

Wow!

I had no idea

As a small boy, I had no idea that I was wearing the bracelet of an American Hero and a phenomenal man. Can you imagine, 5 years as a Prisoner Of War? What were you doing 5 years ago? What have you done since? I can’t begin to appreciate the hardships and torture this courageous man had to live with for those five+ years.

Five + years in captivity, where people are being tutored daily? Guy, in his words says, “Facing death was easy. It was facing torture that was the the hardest.”

So how is your day going so far?

Let me take you back to a day in March 1973 when I could have, and should have, been able to take off my POW bracelet. Watch as Guy is greeted by his ‘little’ brother, who Guy claims was, “the kid I beat up all my life and now  (grown and) stronger than I am” (after 5 years of incarcerations) in  a very special reunion with his family:

So this post comes back to a little boy in a small town wearing the bracelet of a very big man that has been rediscovered.

And this little boy is humbled.

This man has more courage than this boy can possibly fathom.

Guy is now a writer and motivational speaker based on his experiences as a POW

Guy is now a writer and motivational speaker based on his experiences as a POW

And

What a remarkable treasure, the story, the meaning, the role model,the man thought lost for so long Dylan and I found in my old piggy bank.

What a joy to be able to finally put a face and a life with the name on my  little POW bracelet.

What a huge inspiration of courage and strength and faith held in a teeny-tiny bracelet.

Mr. Guy Gruters is the real deal. An American Hero. An American Treasure.

 I feel honored to get a glimpse of this great man’s life through my childhood POW bracelet.

So I need some advice please. What would you do with this bracelet?

And if you say give it back to Mr. Gruters, under what premise of doing so after almost 50 years?

Any ideas?

What kind of Thank You is great enough for Mr.  Gruters; and all the servicemen and women and POW’s out there?

Interested in more real life stories about the adverse life of a POW and the courage of a hero? Check out the many stories captured in Guy’s website.

Courage is fear after you have said your prayers” Capt. Guy Gruters

 

 


Extra, Extra! Suspect arrested for the closing of local schools

Just in!

The normally balmy climate on the coast of South Carolina had taken a wicked turn this week. Schools were closed from the threat of a freezing rain and frozen streets Tuesday.

A telephone message left on our home phone Monday confirmed schools were closed in 5 neighboring counties the next day. This was odd given only a forecast of 34 overnight for a low.

Did these school districts know something we did not?

As it turned out, schools and businesses were closed up and down the coast of South Carolina Tuesday. This never happens here!

Police sniffed out a slippery suspect. They were hot on a trail!

Upon further investigation it turns out Princess Elsa has made her way to the historic town of Charleston, like so many other tourists. But unlike other well intended tourists, Princess Elsa left a trail of ice, sleet and snow. Being chased by police all around Charleston, local pol-ice finally caught up with her as she tried to freeze a local town’s fountain in front of their pol-ice station.

Elsa-nu-1-jpg

Further investigation revealed the Frozen Princess was responsible for record lows all over the state this week. She was apprehended with no further incident.

He gave me a ticket too

The cold never bothered me anyway

Want to build a snowman?

Want to build a snowman?

Film at 11 on ABC News 4!

My girls are upstairs in shock after seeing their Disney idol being arrested right here in their hometown!

Dylan wants to ask her if she can have off from school the rest of the week.

Skylar wants to send her a Popsicle

An Understatement

courtousy  of Beach treasures

Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it.

Mike Myers
That was a perfect quote I found last Father’s Day about being a Dad.
vIMG_20150213_191138154

And if you couldn’t tell by my Valentine’s Week post, I really enjoy being a Dad to my two little, or not quite so little girls. They are so much fun and I enjoy being a kid again with them. Somehow we have developed a loving family , despite all the daily drudgeries going on. And I feel so blessed with these two gems.

Mom has instilled a love for crafts in the girls and they have really taken off with them. Skye loves to paint while the other likes to draw and create things. When this is combined with a holiday and a loving, sweet, happy child these days are priceless!

I bet I received a hand-made Valentine card almost every day for two weeks before Valentine’s holiday from my oldest daughter, Dylan. And she gets into it so much, trying to do her best to show everyone how much they mean to her.

Heaven help someone if she sees one of her cards in the trash can. She will get upset and tell you about it. I left a hand-made Valentine’s bag (present) of knick-knack snacks in front of the trash can and she questioned me about it and told me I couldn’t do that. She really made me feel bad. But in my defense, I only have so much room on the refrigerator door for these treats. Right? But .night after night she really puts her heart into each and every creation.

How can a Dad not feel good about a good happy child like that?

Want to see what I am talking about? Here are some treats from my first grader. This is the outside of one V-Day card …

Outside

Outside

 and then this was on the inside…

Inside

Inside

Kinda neat although I appear to be a doctor dressed in a green smock that day. Here is another favorite sample…

v  day card dad 001See all the detail and thought that went into the dress she was wearing? (yes that is supposed to be Dylan on the card, if you couldn’t guess) She then got a little creative with stickers on the other side of the card.

Here is another one that touched my heart a week ago….

A tribute to singing songs on the way to school in the morning. I'm so modest...

A tribute to singing songs on the way to school in the morning. I’m so modest…

 Yes it did.

Yes it did.

Yes it did.

Its taken from one of the songs we sing on the way to school that Dad occasionally ad libs on. Know what song I mean? 

But you can see the love and passion Ms. Hallmark has in making her cards. I have to guess this isn’t unusual for some kids. But is sure nice to see her be so passionate about something so nice, especially since I am often the receiver of these works of art.

We have built a very special relationship. Yea, Fatherhood’s pretty cool!

Like this….

At school Dylan’s teacher uses a ‘clip-up ‘ chart of various colors designating students’ good behaviors for the day. Last week Dylan was on the highest color 4 out of the 4 days of school. Mommy has told Dylan anytime she can get 4 ‘Purple’s in a row she can have a treat. Dylan said she wanted another “Daddy Night“.

So, on a good night to go out, Dylan and I negotiated and agreed on a restaurant to go to when I got home from work. I just asked her for a few minutes so I can put my things away and transition from work to home.

In the meantime, Dylan ran upstairs and put on her favorite Sunday dress for our dinner date (It was at the Cookout). I was flabbergasted! She put on her favorite nice dress to go out on a dinner date with here Dad…..

And then covered it up with her jean jacket to keep warm, like a lady of the south.

Dad's Night date

Dad’s Night

We had a nice time. I opened and closed the car doors for her although she confessed, “Daddy, I can do it myself“. After we got home she changed out of her fancy dress and asked if we could do her most favorite thing in the world, Wrestle!

And we did. And I won, She has yet to beat me although that doesn’t stop her from trying amongst all the tickles and tosses and body locks.

 

This past Friday she had two hours off from school in the morning due to the temperature being so cold (its true). I was getting ready for work as she woke up and walked in my bedroom. She asks, “Daddy,  Can I come to work with you? I don’t want our nanny to take me to school today. I would like you to. Can I come with you to work?”

I spent all of three seconds considering my options. “Of course you can Dylan. Go get dressed warm for school.”

I wouldn’t, couldn’t miss a second of my greatest thing.

Brrrr…..

So since it ’tis the season, and its snowing everywhere, I thought I would offer Snowball for all you kids and searchers.

snowball

One of our favorite books to read to the kids is Shel Silversteins’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends“. Every night at bedtime we take a few minutes and read some of our girl’s favorite pages to them.  Its fun. We act them out or exaggerate the stories, laugh and bond.

wherethesidewalkends

Why bring this up you may be wondering? Because my page, Bedtime Stories, at the top of this blog has been blowing up lately from searches of one of Shel’s fun poems and timely poems, Snowball, in the “…Sidewalk Ends” book. See it there on the Hit List on the right? Or maybe this post, Brrr is over there now as being popular? Cause it sure is Brrrrrr around here!

This has always been Dylan's favorite....

This has always been Dylan’s favorite…

If you like the poem a smidgen and curious about other Shel Silverstein poems you can check out a few on my Bedtime Stories page above. If you think your kids would enjoy  them, the book makes a great gift.

Readings Lucky for Me

Reading(s) Lucky For Me

Especially if you want them to like reading books and learn some things later in life.

Shell+Silverstein+Listen+to+the+Mustn'ts

Thank you Shel!

Have a great weekend!

shel signature

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