Veteran’s Day For WoodyBoater By Mike Mayer

Today we got this great note from one of the first WoodyBoaters and long time pal Mike Mayer. It’s a sobering reminder of what today really means. It never seems enough to say “thank you for your service” and to just have one day thats Veteran’s Day. Every Day should be Veteran’s Day. Here is Mike and Becky’s note.

Veteran’s Day for WoodyBoater
Today is the day we should all stop to appreciate the sacrifice and service all of our military men and women have put forth for our freedom.
On November 22, 2022 I had the honor and privilege of attending the burial of a World War II hero in Arlington National Cemetery. It was an incredibly moving experience. As the chaplain at Arlington said very clearly, no one buys their way into Arlington, they earn it.

Becky is my Boatress (is that allowed in WBville) and her father came back from WWII with thirteen medals, including a Silver Star. The star is what earned him his place in Arlington. He passed away in 2021 at the age of 96 and was cremated.

Becky’s dad was a war hero, a surgeon, a father and , of course, he was a Woodyboater. Becky and her siblings were raised waterskiing behind “The Bomber”, which is believed to be a 19 or 20’ Besotes. They water skied all year long, rain or shine and there are a few old pictures with the boat in the background but it’s hard to tell exactly what it was.

Anyway, Becky had specific instructions from Arlington regarding, dates, times, guests, photographers and even urn dimensions. We spent one evening looking at urn’s online when I suggested we just make one. I had old deck lumber from my 1929 Hacker Craft and thought that would be a cool way to make the urn. Much to my surprise, she agreed. So, we went into the shop and created an urn for her dad. I had a friend laser an inscription on the lid, and we stained it and applied many coats of varnish.

I never got to meet Becky’s dad, but I was honored to have a small part in his burial and to visit Arlington and take place in this moving experience.

Thank you to all the men and women who have served this great nation!

14 replies
  1. StevG
    StevG says:

    Amen! Thanks to all who have served to make our way of life possible! It is always an honor for me to serve at committal services for veterans at Abraham Lincoln Cemetery near us. Moved to tears every time.

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    A very fitting story for today. It honors one of our veterans that all deserve so much of our gratitude. We have what is still a great country because of their sacrifices. God bless our veterans!

  3. Shannon Knight
    Shannon Knight says:

    I have the pleasure of calling Mike’s delightful boatress, Becky, my friend. So I’m going to take a page out of Greg’s book to give her a little plug! Becky has written an important book about her father’s service in WWII and what it was like being raised by a combat sargeant. You can read about it at https://beckyellis.net/. I have already reserved my own copy of her book on Amazon and can’t wait to read it.

  4. BT
    BT says:

    I was at an American Legion last night and I bought many a thank you beer for a vet. Best money I’ve spent in a long time.

  5. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

    A great story on this Veterans Day, Mike. Thanks to your father-in-law, and all the veterans, alive and dead who have served and are serving now. Where would we be without you?

  6. Wayne Bomb
    Wayne Bomb says:

    Matt thanks for sharing Mike and Becky’s story. As a former member of the Army’s Old Guard, I witnessed many such ceremonies. Mike and Becky’s photos captured the moments perfectly. Arlington is truly a special place honoring many of our nation’s veterans and heroes not just today, but every day.

  7. Shannon Knight
    Shannon Knight says:

    Thank you for sharing this story, Mike! I have the pleasure of calling your delightful boatress, Becky, my friend too. So I’m going to take a page out of Greg’s book to give her a little plug! Becky has written an important book about her father’s service in WWII and what it was like being raised by a combat sergeant.  It’s called “Little Avalanches” and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon.  I have already reserved my own copy and can’t wait to read it. 

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