Sunday, November 11, 2012

Honoring the Veterans in My Family

The earliest veteran I know of in my family is Moses Mulliner, my seventh great-grandfather, who served during the American Revolution as a drummer for a New Jersey unit.  I spoke about him recently to a local DAR chapter.  As far as I know he was a practicing Quaker, and that is probably why he chose to support the revolution as a drummer instead of fighting.  He was one of many veterans who found themselves in dire financial circumstances late in life, and he had to work his way through government bureaucracy for a pension that finally arrived the year before he died.

After Moses I move forward almost 100 years to the American Civil War.  My great-great-grandfather Cornelius Gottschalk Sellers volunteered to serve in another New Jersey unit.  Cornelius was underage, so his father Franklin had to sign a note granting him permission to volunteer.  His unit was at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, and even at Appomattox for Lee's surrender, and he was in the hospital twice.  He did not survive long after the end of the war, passing away in 1877 at a young age.

On a collateral line are the only career military men I know of in my family.  Edwin Elias Sellers served in the U.S. Army.  He fought in the Civil War and was one of the Guard of Honor over the remains of President Lincoln while his body lay in state in Philadelphia from April 22-24, 1865, en route to Springfield, Illinois for burial.  I don't know if he was miffed when his son David Foote Sellers joined the Navy, but David had a long career there.  He participated in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars and World War I, and served as Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet and later as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Neither of my grandfathers was able to serve in the military.  My paternal grandfather had a leg amputated when he was 13 years old, and my maternal grandfather had flat feet.  But my maternal uncles were both in the armed forces, one in the Army and one in the Air Force.  And my stepfather was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

My stepson served in the U.S. Army for nine years, which included three tours in Iraq.  My daughter-in-law was also in the Army.

These are the veterans who are particularly dear to me, but everyone who serves has earned our thanks today.

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