Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Time to Remember...

... and a time to be thankful.

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 … a date which will live in infamy,” declared U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, plunging the United States into World War ll. Although the U.S. was ill prepared for a global war, this didn’t stop boys like Floyd Edwin Lawrence.

At the age of 17, Edwin tried to join the U.S. Navy to avoid being drafted by the Army. “I didn’t want to sleep in a fox hole,” he said. “I had three letters of recommendation as they required, but they still sent me home because I was too young.” However, three months later, to Edwin’s relief, he received a letter to report for duty to the U.S. Navy. He traveled in boxcars from Birmingham, Alabama, to Bainbridge, Maryland, finally settling in Washington D.C. Edwin’s days of raising chickens and tending to the vegetable garden in Fayette, Alabama, were long gone as he prepared for his new occupation as a sniper. With only seven hours of sniper training, Edwin received his orders to board the aircraft carrier USS WASP on the 8th deck, but at the last minute, he was pulled from his orders and never left for overseas. On September 15, 1942, the USS WASP was hit by three torpedoes, losing men, including most of those on the 8th deck.

Floyd Edwin Lawrence, Seaman Second Class, shelved his 50 Caliber Browning automatic rifle and stayed in Washington for the remainder of his time in the war, overseeing warehouses and other stockrooms across the river at the gun factory. On March 17, 1946, he returned to his home in
Fayette, Alabama. Today, at age 89, Edwin lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, doing the things he enjoys--sharing his love for cooking, especially his black-eye peas and cornbread sticks.

For Edwin, June 6 is a time to remember those our country lost, but also a time of reflection. Our history has taught us lessons of courage, passion, bravery, sacrifice, and what freedom truly means. “We need to get back to flying our flags more here,” he says. “We need to appreciate what we have, because you never really appreciate what you have until it’s gone.”

As you take time to remember the 71st Anniversary of D-Day, fly your flags high in honor of those men and women who gave so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Floyd Edwin Lawrence thanks you.

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