ROW80: NaNoWriMo, Day 11

Flags on Normandy Beach, France

Before my ROW80 update, I’d like to first observe that it’s Veterans’ Day in the United States, and take this time to thank those who have served (and are serving) in our armed forces. It’s because of their willingness to put their lives on the line for our country and what we stand for, that we have the freedoms we so easily take for granted today.

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As for ROW80, my solution for dealing with the to-do list worked wonderfully. In case you missed it, details here. Stupidly simple! (Uhhh… and stupid too, but nevermind).

NaNoWriMo progress is on track, and I remembered a few other, non-ROW80 things on my list that needed to be done, and they got done. As far as my other ROW80 goals, weeeelllllll… I’m going to cite poor planning as my excuse for not getting to my revisions on Hangar 18. I had an RWA chapter meeting and workshop all afternoon today, and guests for dinner afterward – which is when I would have done this. However, the workshop was fantastic and sooooo worth it. That’s one thing I love about writing – there’s always something new to learn. And my husband and I had a fun evening with our friends.

Here’s my progress for this past week:

  • 12,000 words on NaNoWriMo novel, to a total of 18,000 words or more – Done!
  • Physical activity 5x this week – partial – got in 3x.
  • Hangar 18 – review and markup Chapters 10-11 – No.

Here are my overall goals for this round:

  • Format and release OVRWA holiday story anthology – Done and soon to be released!
  • Revise Hangar 18 – revisions/markup moving along nicely
  • Keep up with my exercise, five times a week – ongoing
  • Win NaNoWriMo – on track with 18,175 words so far!
For this week, I’d like to:
  • 12,000 more words on NaNoWriMo novel, bringing its total up to 18,000
  • Physical activity 5x this week
  • Hangar 18 – review and markup Chapters 10 & 11

If you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing so far? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? If so, look me up and let’s be writing buddies! And either way, how are you doing with whatever goals you may have made?

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

With Honor and Appreciation

Col. Wilcox with his wife and daughter, following the end of WWII

Tomorrow is Veterans Day in the U.S. Originally called Armistice Day to celebrate victory in WWI, the holiday was declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, in remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice during that war. It was later expanded to include all veterans, including those who served and survived.

I’d like to honor one of the latter, the late Colonel Robert E. Wilcox, my husband’s grandfather. Col. Wilcox was the highly decorated pilot of a B-29 bomber, and served in Army Air Corps during WWII, and later in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean conflict.

He was a two-time POW. The first time, he was held in northern Japan in a concentration camp, and wasn’t released until Japan’s defeat. He’d been presumed dead for nearly a year by then – the military already had a headstone made for him and planned for placement in Arlington Cemetery. It was due to the efforts of the Red Cross that he was rescued at the war’s end, and this was something he never forgot. One of his hands was broken in multiple places, and he also credited the Red Cross for getting him prompt medical attention and for arranging multiple, complex (for the time) surgeries that restored to him the full use of his hand.

Despite his harrowing experience, he went on to serve in Korea a few years later, and again was taken prisoner.

Colonel Wilcox’s accomplishments were many. The medals shown here recognize some of the missions and campaigns he served in during both wars. The Purple Heart was, of course, for the wounds he suffered while a prisoner of war. The medal on the upper right states was “Awarded for Honorable Service while a Prisoner of War, for the United States of America.” He also was recognized for completing 25 missions as a bomber pilot, denoted by the medal in the center on the top row. The lower center medal is for “Service in Defense of the Principles of the Charter of the United Nations” during his service in Korea.

He also was awarded the Bronze Star and Silver Star.

Grandpa never talked about these awards, or his time in the military. Despite his achievements and service, he always seemed to regard it as a duty, simply something one did.

He always kept busy. After he retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service, he went to work as an electrical engineer for NCR, until his retirement from there 25 years later. Throughout his life, Grandpa Wilcox was always committed to serving others, and never forgot what others had done for him. He flew for the Civil Air Patrol during the 70s, and later, volunteered for the Red Cross along with his wife, my husband’s grandma Mary. When I met my husband in the early 90s, they volunteered a couple days a week, taking elderly people who were unable to drive, to doctors’ appointments, the grocery store or other necessary errands. They were also active in their church, and participated in activities to help others. They served in this capacity into their late seventies, until forced to stop by their own health issues.

Grandpa passed away in 2002, at the age of 84, two years after Grandma’s passing. Although I only knew him for the last ten years of his life, I consider that a privilege. It’s because of him and others like him, that we continue to enjoy the freedoms we have today.

I’m also privileged to have several friends, neighbors and coworkers who served, and to all of them I’m grateful.

Who will you thank tomorrow?