Sunday, May 25, 2008


Do you remember The War of 1898? Me either, but I do remember The Spanish-American War, some battles of which were fought in the Philippines where Pvt. Johnson served. This was the war for the generation of Patrick Hayes Johnson, born in August of 1877. Patrick died almost 31 years after that war ended. He was killed in a tragic accident in 1929 at a railroad crossing.

Cecil Johnson, my uncle through my marriage to Corey’s mother, is a surviving son of Patrick. For all of Cecil’s adult life, he has pursued some honor for his father and this year he finally got the long delayed recognition from the U. S. Government for which his father fought. The government even sent Tennessee Congressman Lincoln Davis, who was instrumental in securing the honor, and an Honor Guard to highlight the laying of a plaque at Pvt. Johnson’s grave in the Harriman Cemetery (Harriman, Tennessee).

It was not an easy path to obtaining the government’s recognition, mostly because of a house fire that destroyed all of the soldier’s military papers. However, through the wonder of the “information age” a grandson found the records online and with the aide of Congressman Davis, the honor came about recently.

Two of the photos used here were scanned from the Roane County News, one showing Cecil walking away carrying the flag and shell casings, used in the 21-gun salute, presented to him after the ceremony, and another fuzzy shot of the grave marker.

I see Cecil and his wife Joyce once or twice a year, but always at my granddaughter Lily’s birthday party. I’ve included this year’s shot from the party, and also a shot of him, Corey, and me when we all wore younger men’s clothes.

Cecil was also a veteran of the Korean War, and suffered many ordeals while in country. Cecil’s brother, Willis, also followed in their father’s footsteps by serving in World War II.

Of course, I never knew Cecil’s father, but I know he would have been proud of his son. Cecil is a quiet man, with much internal strength. He never fails to offer me his hand, a smile, and often a hug when we meet. I’ve always been proud of him too, and looked up to his silent strength. He and Joyce will always be family to me.

This newspaper article came to my attention just in time for me to post it in honor of Patrick Johnson, and for all who served and died to make this country free.

Have a wonderful and reflective Memorial Day!


Chris said...

Nice job and a great reminder to everyone.

Stushie said...

Memorial Day Sonnet

If Liberty means anything to me,
I will remember what my freedom cost,
By those who gave their all to keep me free,
Whose lives were sacrificed, but never lost.
I will remind myself of what they did,
And keep them dearly cherished in my heart;
Their honor never from me shall be hid
And I will know they always did their part
To save our nation and its people here,
To pledge their lives in defense of our ways,
To show that freedom always outlives fear,
And sacrifice is hallowed all our days.
If Liberty means anything to me,
I will remember those who kept me free.

© John Stuart 2008
Pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church,
Knoxville, Tennessee

Sarge Charlie said...

cool post mr mushey, enjoy your weekend, you earned it...

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
- General George S. Patton, Jr

On this Memorial Day remember my friends who died for your freedom.

Dear Lord, lest I continue in my complacent ways, help me to remember that someone died for me today. And if there be war, help me to remember to ask and to answer “am I worth dying for?”~

Eleanor Roosevelt

~Fathairybastard~ said...

That's a wondeful post! It's so great to see something like that happen. Everyone who had anything to do with getting P.H. Johnson that recognition deserves a huge thanks. Wonderful! Yea, we've all got those quiet vets like Cecil in our families. Those in my family are all gone now. you know this holiday means that much more to me now that dad is gone. Great post!

Americaneocon said...

Wishing you and yours a peaceful and relaxing Memorial Day!

BRUNO said...

First time in a long while that I've been left speechless!(So, enjoy it while you can, because you know I'll be back...!)

Hope you've had a safe Memorial Day!!!

david mcmahon said...

Wonderful work, Sir Mushy.

Grandpa-Old Soldier said...

Thanks for that great post. I hope you had a good Memorial Weekend.

Hilary said...

This is a wonderful post which touches close to home. With a son gearing up for his career as an Officer in the military, I walk that precarious line between immense pride and gripping fear. I'm so glad that Patrick Hayes Johnson got his well-deserved recognition.

David marched me over here to read his Post of the Day. Well-earned. :)

Akelamalu said...

What a lovely post. It's good that Patrick got recognition and well done to those that persevered to get it for him.

Mushy said...

I appreciate that David sent you all over...thanks for the visit and for the gentle thoughts on Memorial Day.

Sandi McBride said...

Salutes all around. Great Post

CrazyCath said...

A late arrival from David's. Well deserved POTD. Great tribute.

Mushy said...

Thanks Sandi and Cathy...enjoyed your visit!

Sandpiper said...

A wonderful post and great read. I enjoyed this tribute. I came in from David's blog.
Best wishes.