Sunday, November 15, 2015


I'm late in posting a Veteran's Day post with just a few thoughts --

  I certainly appreciate the dedication of those who serve in the military and have sacrificed.  However, my family has been on a different road of service.  They have always been farmers and ranchers and were needed for agriculture deferments. 
Grandfather's registration in 1918 indicating agriculture deferment during WWI

Father's registration in 1945 indicating completion of service of an agriculture deferment during WWII
Last week, my grandson was doing a report for school on his family veterans.  He had to go back to 1812 to find a grandparent on the paternal side of my family who actively served in a war.  Wyatt's research found that the great-grandfather of my grandfather was killed during the War of 1812.  My grandfather and this ancestor were both from the tiny town of Parkman, Maine, but were on different paths of service to their country.

This got me to thinking further about my family's involvement in wars, and I realized that not all service men were warriors.   With deferments, the farmers and ranchers were not without obligations to the war effort.  They were involved considerably in supporting the troops, and the families who remained at home, with food and supplies.

In some of our family ephemera, we even have a shipping receipt that an ancestor supplied the U.S. Army with thousands of horses during World War One shipping them to Europe.

My grandfather was awarded The Skelly Award for Superior Achievement in Agriculture for "contributing generously and importantly to the war effort of the United States and our Allies" dated June 19, 1943.  This was a national award and I remember it as a big deal for our family.  
Here is a picture of my family on the day in 1943 he was honored for the award -- my grandparents in the middle and his two sons who worked with him on the farm and the ranch and their families.  A third son was not granted an agriculture deferment, and was serving in Africa at the time of the picture.

My grandfather was fortunate to be honored for his service.  But how many were denied the opportunity to serve their country in the military because they were farmers; then toiled at home doing their part, and were never recognized?
I thought this quote was interesting on the bottom of the award -- "Food will win the war -- food will write the peace."

Maybe we should have a "Thank a Farmer/Rancher Day" to honor their contribution in securing the freedoms we enjoy.

1 comment:

Chris K in Wisconsin said...

Excellent post!! My husband's family has many farmers who also were granted this same deferment. We always heard stories of how hard they worked during the war with so many shortages. His family always talked about the "honor" they felt in providing food, grain, and milk. I'm sure there were other professions also needed to stay back and take care of business as well. They were all doing their duties as necessary for the war effort.