Blog Your Blessings: "What Does Hallowed Mean, Again?"

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On Tuesday, I brought my daughter and nephews to the National Submarine Memorial in Groton, Connecticut, before we made our way to Fort Trumbull and Ocean Beach Park for an afternoon of sunshine and the sea. (I was retracing the footsteps of a well-spent Saturday.)

I wondered before we got there how they'd respond to a bunch of granite slabs with names of men and submarines engraved on them. What is it to a young child to know that a great-great uncle's name was among the 3,617 on that wall, and so was the name of his submarine, which the Japanese had sunk after 8 patrols in the Pacific? Global warfare, duty, bravery, honor, adventure, death--what do these concepts mean to kids who have walked this earth for a decade or less?

I grew up hearing the stories from my grandmother, and I have retold them on this blog many times. Loving my grandmother and her siblings whom I knew as much as I did, I can't help wondering about the great-uncle I never would meet and hearing his stories.

As the kids walked around and studied the conning tower, the torpedo, the plaques, and the names that comprise this memorial, I told them what I knew of Laurence Isbell's story. They sought their uncle's name, found it, and stood by it. They attempted to count the names of the other men. They read the names of the boats in search of his, the Herring.

"Hey. They all say 'no survivors'--but that one says there were 3 pows What's a pow, and why were there no survivors?"

That came from Adam, who will begin second grade in the fall. He read all he could, and he was the first to find the Herring.

With a little bit of help from his brother and cousin, he also did us the honor of reading the words of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz: "We shall never forget that it was our submarines that held the line against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds."

Together, the three kids worked on reading the words, "walk softly, walk softly stranger, you stand on hallowed ground," inscribed on the Wall of Honor.

They were into it; it was a touching sight--so much so that the landscapers trimming the grass watched them and smiled until they were finished and then apologized for making so much noise

Adam touched my heart, though. He checked out the torpedo hatches with his little hands, speculated on the purposes of the various parts of the conning tower, and wanted more than anything to take a brochure to read in the car. He was everywhere at once and on it.

As we pulled away from the memorial and headed for the beach, "What does hallowed mean, again?" came to me from the back seat.

"Very special," I said. "Very, very special."

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Blog Your Blessings


  1. Tears are rolling down my cheeks as I read of the youngsters innocence and your beautiful explanation. A beautiful blessing indeed and a double blessing to those young ones who learned from you about those who fought so valiantly. Thank you for re-telling the story to future generations and keeping it "alive."

    I am trying to catch up now. I have a post today too.

  2. I have to say that I to was moved by this post.. You have shown them something that will last them a life time.... I had one or two of these moments with both my sons and thought at the time how special moments like this are... it will shape them as adults what was learned there.

    A truely beautiful post.

  3. what a beautiful post.

    its moving and very touching...

    have a great weekend...

    hope you will take time to visit my blog again.

  4. Beautiful and moving post.
    Lovely photos and good that the children are being taught about the awful things that happened. No one should ever forget.

  5. What a privlege to tag along on your outing with the kids. They show the grace and intellegence and natural reverence of children that haven;t had their moral/emotional innocence corrupted by bullying,lazy parenting.
    You are blessed, Sandy!

    Comfort Spiral

  6. Thank you, Sandy I enjoyed that very much! Happy 4th! :)

  7. Very special indeed.

    As special as this post.

  8. When you stop the landscaper, you know you're doing something right!

    By the way, I loved your last Wordless Wednesday picture.

  9. You are such a good Mom and Auntie. Children need exposure to "reality" for them to appreciate their world. It certainly was a hallowed experience.

  10. What can I say that hasn't already been said above me? Except maybe that in my next life I want to be your kid.

    In this life, though, I'm just stupid happy to be your friend.

  11. thank you for sharing one of the most moving stories i have read in such a long time! It is without a doubt one of the dearest thing i have read My dear Friend! A well spent saturday indeed! A well spent day with the kids as well!

  12. Kids say what's on their mind no matter what, and from this story, there's a lot to think about. What a touching story Sandy!

  13. Very special post today... and very beautiful. I'm glad they're getting a lesson in history, courage, and sacrifice... it's important to be grateful to those brave souls... and to try hard not to add to their rolls. Thank you, Sandy.

  14. Beautiful post Sandy!

  15. Really a great post, Sandy. I think the horrible things that happened are so far from the children's minds: it' very right to make them know lightly, in a way which is suitable for them.

  16. What a wonderful and touching entry. I bet this is something the children will never forget. It's such a sad thing yet the children make it so beautiful.

  17. What a lovely experience, someone has to take the time to teach our little ones the true values of life. you are doing that beautifully!

  18. Sandy: Thanks for sharing this wonderful time with the children at this hallowed place.

  19. This is such a lovely and moving post. Those children are a wonder. Your nephew reminds me of my own son when he was little... the questions.. the mulling.. more questions and then beautiful, bold well thought out statements. Adam is a thinker and he's not done with his thoughts about this hallowed place.

  20. Great story. Maybe he will keep the story of your uncle alive.

  21. Your posts, as always, make me think. When they are a bit older, I would recommend showing them the movie "Das Boot" or perhaps U571 to help get a fuller understanding of war and thereby the great sacrifice that those people made.


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