Memorial Day 2012 will be observed on Monday, May 28 nationwide, and now even includes a suggested moment of personal reflection at 3 p.m. specifically to personally recognize and remember the sacrifices veterans made for this country and in defense of freedom wherever they were sent for duty - whether inside or outside our nation's borders.
Sharing thanks for the sacrifices made of our nation's defenders and by their loving friends and family on one single day of the year is not something longtime Lansing resident and military veteran Carl Krob has ever thought was the way to do things.
"There are not many of us left," he offered recently during an informal conversation about his military experiences and those of family and friends from the area which were particularly tied to the WWII era.
“Talking about the dangers of war may help the younger generations appreciate the sacrifices already made by our nation’s military. It’s important to remember the men and women who have died while in our nation’s military,” reflected Lansing native and World War II U.S. Army Veteran Carl Krob. He helps maintain the awareness regarding the sacrifices and the details of that war whenever possible, one way he shares his appreciation for the gift of freedom. The photos shared here were taken some years ago when a number of WWII era planes were flown to the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport for public review. On that day, several pilots who flew those planes were among the crews who flew them to the local airport. Above, the Boeing B-17 F, an American plane which came to be nicknamed “The Fast Woman,” was also considered a flying fortress of sorts, and played a major role in the air battles over Europe in WWII. The planes were often adorned with images of movie star Betty Grable, and with select nicknames making a very personal tie to it for a particular crew.
For the millions of Americans who have family and friends with military service of any kind, they know too well that the men and women who have died in service to this country and in the defense of freedom deserve to be remembered much more often than that as a color guard marches past during a local parade.
Seldom does a day pass when he does not think of relatives, friends, classmates and neighbors who served in our nation's military and have since died.
As long as he is alive, those lost loved ones will have a champion, one who has long been tireless in efforts to keep alive a deep appreciation for the accomplishments and sacrifices made by Americans, men as well as women, so the U.S. could take on a lead role in efforts to stop the continuation of the Nazi-led wave of terror and murder surfacing around the globe at that time.
"I'm very fortunate to be here," he offered with a sense of genuine appreciation coming through his statement with honest strength.
Krob received his first draft notice on Feb. 3, 1945, while he was still a junior at Bridgeport High School, and circumstances at the time resulted in his being told to remain at home to finish his junior year of high school.
On June 6, 1945, a second draft notice arrived ordering him to report for induction and basic training.
There would be no more waiting.
But even this time around, he would be pulled from the general ranks of his peers and given very specialized training - which actually ended up keeping him stateside for the entire time he was in the service.
"I'm pretty sure things would have been a lot different for me if the Army had not decided to make those few changes," he said.
Krob came to learn that, had he been told to report for duty at the time of the original draft notice, he would have been sent into some of the most brutal battles of the war, a fact which all too quickly translated directly to high casualty numbers.
At an early point during his initial weeks in the army, Krob was once again sent on a slightly different path than were most other men he had trained and worked with to that point in time. He was ordered into a Cadre training program at a base in Alabama.
It was work he was proud to shoulder, and ultimately placed him into areas of responsibility which made it possible for him to help make sure the day to day operation of the barracks, the mess, and other aspects of daily life in the military were all attended to smoothly and effectively - and in the exact way the military wanted things done.
"They sent me straight to Cadre School," he explained. "That meant they trained me to train others who were new to the military."
It was a development he questions periodically, even today, but always with a deep feeling of appreciation for his very full life which have included becoming a husband, father and grandfather.
While connecting to his training, Krob was one of many young soldiers who traveled to Aterbury, Ind., where he saw for himself prisoners of war marching to their day's work detail, not far from the his initial destination at the end of the cross country trip made on a troop train.
On the other hand, participating in the war resulted in a poignant moment for the Lansing native - he received his high school diploma as a member of the Bridgeport High School Class of 1947.
"When I was still in the Army, I took a class that let me do the work I needed to finish my senior year of high school. It let me graduate from high school when I came home," he offered. "I remember looking around and realizing a lot of guys weren't going to get that chance, because they weren't going to be coming home from there."
"I felt very blessed, and still do."