An Honor to Honor our Veteran Dads

On this Veterans Day we thank God for the men and women who have supported our country through all the wars. Three of my brothers-in-law were members of the U.S. Navy and numerous extended family members are in the military or have served.

Today I’d like to give special honor to my father and my father-in-law for their service, both of whom have gone on to heaven, but who served in two major wars.

Leon Lawson III - U.S. Army
My father, Leon Lawson III, was the only son in his family and proudly served in the U.S. Army. He was in the Korean War as part of Company K, 61st Infantry. Sadly, I never interviewed Dad, “Foots” as we fondly called him, on his experiences in the war. It was something he preferred not to talk about. But, now that he’s gone, I wish we had recorded his experiences as part of our family history.
   
 
 
 
 
Roy Durfey - U. S. Army

My wife did interview her father, Roy Durfey, before he died about his experiences in the U.S. Army during World War II. Roy was part of Gap Assault Team 9 on Omaha Beach on D-Day. His boat was the first wave of boats that landed on Omaha Beach. Their responsibility was to demolish the hedgehogs that were preventing the boats from landing on the beach. As we all know the history, nothing went as planned that day. Most of the men in Roy’s boat were killed including his leader. That day my 19-year-old father-in-law became a man. They reorganized into teams and Roy was one of the leaders in the Easy Red section. The remaining men in that group were able to clear four gaps that day.

Roy served in Europe until the end of the War in May 1945. He shared many other stories that Debra plans to chronicle some day in a memoir of her father.

Part of the reason Debra learned so much about her father’s involvement in WWII was thanks to Jonathan Gawne, who interviewed WWII soldiers and wrote the book Spearheading D-Day, American Special Units in Normandy. We are grateful to Jonathan for signing a copy of his book and giving it to our family as a token of his thanks to the veterans.

Below is a map from Jonathan’s book that shows the half of Omaha Beach where Roy’s boat #9 landed.

Omaha Beach D-Day
It’s hard for those of us who have never been involved in a war to understand the depth of the devastation. In addition to our deep appreciation for our veterans service, we also pray this Veterans Day for peace on earth for all countries.
 
 
With deep gratitude,
James

 

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field