In Remembrance

William "Bill" Norfolk (Pappy) 1922 - 2000

What can anyone say about their father, if they really have love for him?  I respected him more than anyone I've ever met.  His service in WW II is what guided me to become a soldier, but he didn't want me to go in.  His captivity and torture at the hands of the Japanese colored his life forever.  He was a young hooligan and was out going for the gusto when he proposed to my mother, and she was still in high school.  He was going to enlist for 2 years and come back to marry her, but the war got in the way.  Instead he was assigned to an Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battalion and sent to the Philippines.  He was on Corregidor when it fell, was marched to prisoner of war camps in the infamous Bataan Death March.   If you are interested, go see what he lived through...  Here is an account of a survivor.  

All my life he was a simple laborer who worked hard to provide for his family.  His values in the country were strong, and he and those like him built this country - They are the fabric that holds our nation together.  I owe him what I am (but the faults are all my own).  He developed cancer, but didn't quit then either.  His end was one of giving to others and kindness, even though his mental capacity had diminished.  The list of his ailments is lengthy.  His end was in a nursing home, where he was mostly disoriented and oft thought that he was still a prisoner.  As they offered him medication to help ease the pain in his final few days, he declined and said there were lots of others who needed it more than him.  I held his hand and sang to him as he died.  It is a void that is bittersweet.  I know he is in heaven and not in pain, but I sure do miss him.  God has gained a good tinkerer, and if my sense of heaven is right, dad has a youthful strong body and a good workshop and new tools... He'll brace things that don't even need it so they are strong...

 

 

Saluting as the National Anthem is played..  Too weak to stand!

The guys of Clan Norfolk

They renamed his VFW post after him and a member who was killed in combat.

Lynn Hanson 1953 - 2000

Lynn Hanson.  Christian, Husband, Father, Soldier.  You ever have one of those people that you just  made fast friends with?  One that lasted and the caring for each other was really strong - even in the times when doing what was right was painful?  He was that kind of friend to me.  We met in Germany in 1976 and stayed in touch from then on.  We tried to do Thanksgivings together, and made quite a few of them work out.  When I retired, he served on.  In the end his specialty was PSYOPS (Psychological Operations), and he was top in his field.  And, he was sent into danger every time America would rattle it's saber.  He went to Granada when that skirmish happened, Panama for it's excursion, and Desert Storm.  Along the way he was also on the NATO Multinational Peacekeeping force when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  He had the certificate as a recipient!  He retired on 2 April, 1999, and I was fortunate enough to go there to the Alamo in San Antonio to watch and honor him.  Little did I know that in a year I would return for his funeral.  He had borrowed a nephew's motorcycle and went riding up in the country near San Antonio, when he left the road and transitioned the veil into heaven.  When friends like that leave you, you never fully get over it, just wait to see them again when its your turn to go.  I'll see you, Lynn.  My true friend.  His picture is a link to a movie I made of him.


Capt. Phillip Baldwin 1954 - 1987 

I have trouble explaining Phil to some.  We were similar in so many ways and I felt so close to him.  He was a dedicated man, ultimate jokester, but serious as can be about his job.  He was a Weapons Systems Operator (Wizzo) on an F-111 at his demise.  He died on his wedding anniversary.  His wife, JB, is someone I have always admired for her faith and strength, but that is another story.  He didn't want to fly with the pilot he was assigned to that day.  As a senior captain, he had responsibilities in the Squadron that were more than many of the others.  He had said this pilot was careless... but took the training mission.  His plane went in upside down in Scotland.  His mirth, care for his wife and daughters, and strength as a man, and as an officer, will not be easily replaced.  On my wall is the reminder of Phil.  It is a quote of Theodore Roosevelt from April 23, 1910.  In your memory my friend...

 

…It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… who strives valiantly… who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. 

Theodore Roosevelt April 23, 1910


There are so many others that I owe so much to.

 

I just hope to not lose any more soon.!

 

It is to my sorrow that I add another name to my list.  Gerhart Neuman became my friend on a tour of Germany.  He died in a car accident.  the world has one less really nice guy in it now...!  
Auf Wiedersehen meine Freund.