Honoring My French Legion Soldier Dad’s Service

world war one scene

My cousin Steve Packey displays a photo of his Grandfather Joseph in his law firm in Sacramento.  It is Steve’s noble way to remember a family member who served his country during war.

Joseph enlisted in the U.S. Army in Chicago when the U.S. entered  WWI.  He was sent to Jefferson Barracks in Missouri where it was discovered he was fifteen years old and thought too young to serve.  Officials sent him home.

From there, he marched himself up to Canada and enlisted in the French Foreign Legion.  The photo in Steve’s office shows him standing beside a car in Paris that he drove for an officer.  Soon he was fighting in the trenches.  The hand-sized Soldier’s Book he carried contained pages of military objectives in French and English. That little part of WWI history can be seen in an Iowa museum in McGregor, Iowa, if it’s still there.

Like most veterans who fought, Dad would not share the terrorizing experiences of trench fighting.  However, I was fascinated with the beautiful medal he was given following his battle wounds.  It was inlaid with ivory and green stones and I wore it often to high school on a chain..  Until the chain fell off.  I continue to regret that loss.  The few remaining objects I  have of his are a rosary and one of his fishing lures.

Joseph does leave a legacy of patriotism and courage.  I also believe he passed along a sense of adventure.  I discovered this during a Mom’s Day call from son John when I asked, “What kind of mother was I?”  And, he answered with not a second’s hesitation, “Adventurous.

This may be one of the reasons I wrote Lebensborn Secrets.  The adventures continue in Rusty Springs and Casanova Cowboy.  Perhaps even, Snowbirds.

(Again, thanks to PhotoPin for use of the above scene.)