Two Wisconsin Veterans

I’ve been wondering if I should write about Veterans Day this year, or observe in silence.

I always have another story to tell.  Or tell again, with a few more layers.   Trust grows.

My father, Harold A. Borgh, Ph.D, served in World War II.  I can only imagine my mom and dad, in love in their twenties, not knowing if they would be able to build a life together.  When I was caring for my mother, I sometimes found, as time progressed, that her older memories were more vivid.  If I could find a movie from the 1940s, for example, she would connect with it.  Yet, she never stopped trying.  So sad that she grew up with war and died with war.  She watched the news day and night.

They did so much and were modest.  My father was a kind man.  I think of times when he could have scolded me, but loved me unconditionally instead.  He was only 68 when he died in 1983.  By God’s grace, I went to Poland with him for over a month in the summer of 1978.  There was a tour with UW-Milwaukee; he wanted to go; my mom had a teaching commitment.  I was teaching elementary school, but not in the summer.  So I went with him.  This was Karl’s and my first summer in our little house in Illinois, and Karl was kind to understand I needed to do this.  Dad, as veteran and historian, was continuing to learn and bear witness.  He and Mom went to other places in Europe as well.  I went to Canada with my mother in 1972, to see Shakespeare plays with her.

Today I am listening to Amy Shreve PRAY Instrumentals.  I can never hear “Be Still My Soul,” “Wayfarin’ Stranger,” or “I Need Thee Every Hour” too many times.

Others in my family served in Vietnam.  I’ll close this post with a picture of The Vietnam War Memorial that I found on; followed by a picture of The Paul Brandt School Forest, by Ruth Bauer.  Paul served in Vietnam.  We honor and love, we pray for peace and healing.

9 thoughts on “Two Wisconsin Veterans

  1. Thank you for sharing, Ellen. We owe a great debt to people like your Dad.

    I had the privilege of visiting the Vietnam memorial some time ago. It was an experience I’ll never forget and I say that as a South African. There was something profoundly universal about it.


  2. I understand your thoughts, when i was young I never thought I would serve and not until I did, i did not realize the impact of service in our lives, i come from a family where many have served, and i did not know until i was well into my fourth year of service. My fathers two brothers served in the military during world war II and the Korean conflict, my mother had six brothers who served in the same wars. My wife’s father and two of his brothers served. All returned and were blessed in life! Two brothers served, both in Vietnam, one passed and the other is still with us! My wife and i served and my daughter and a large number of cousins and neices! The reason why i share this is…we are honored to do a job that many seek not to do. And once you become part of that large fraternity, your family is increased more greatly for we are all of the same unique spirit! I am part of your father’s spirit as are the youngers one’s who serve. Pray for those alive today, and those living with the Lord, and thank them for making that commitment that few can make, for it is the truest love one can offer to another. I pray and ackknowledge all others with joy and pride! And i try to remember their sacrifice in the way I live my life. This is always the best way to show their efforts were and always will be appreciated. Ellen do it in your own unique way, but even by just remembering for a moment…you send a thousand joyful blessings their way. Thank you always for your love and your wonderful spirit my sister! I really loved your post this morning!


  3. The Vietnam War is the one I connect most closely with, Ellen–the stories of those veterans, read or told to me, are shatteringly unforgettable. Thank you for sharing–God bless you. love, Caddo


  4. My thanks for your father’s, and your other relatives’ service. Thank-you for sharing what you have here; it blesses us to read it, and I’m thinking you, too, must have been blessed by writing it.


  5. Thanks for sharing this story that warms the heart. I’ve never been to The Wall, the Viet Nam memorial. I imagine it is quite emotional to see the names of so many. My brother went to Nam for his “senior trip” as the song says. Fortunately, he returned.


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