Posts Tagged ‘World War 2’

Hello Everyone,

Big news! The Kindle version of the biography I wrote about my dad, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, is selling for only $1.99 through November 30, 2014, in honor of Veterans Day.

One of Amazon’s top reviewers had this to say about the book:

“The daughter of Major General Howard L. Peckham, Jean Kavale was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She had more than fifteen years of experience as an editor in Silicon Valley, including Senior Editor with PDR Information Services. She was also a Contract Editor for Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, for which she edited the entire library of CallPath books. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland, a teaching credential from San Jose State University, and a master’s degree in pastoral theology from the University of San Francisco. She has authored two other books – FROM THE POTOMAC TO THE SEINE: THE PERSONAL STORY OF AN ARMY FAMILY and FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY. It is Jean’s wish that the world be more aware of the work of her father, the head of the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) in Europe (1947-1950) and so this memoir, touching and informative, comes at a time when so many of us are deeply concerned about the ongoing loss of lives in the seemingly endless wars in the Middle East. Hence this current book – A SALUTE TO PATRIOTISM.

Well researched and written with the voice of one who not only knows the principle character well but also has the gift to write and report as a fine journalist and historian, Jean comments, `When my father was ordered to head the AGRC in 1947, the fallen Americans of the European Theater were resting in 37 temporary cemeteries scattered throughout Europe. Under his command, they were either returned home for reburial or reinterred in one of the ten permanent American cemeteries in Europe, depending on the wishes of the next of kin. The AGRC did the grading, constructing, and reinterring at the permanent resting places, including the formerly temporary one overlooking Omaha Beach. The civilian agency that took over the cemeteries in 1951 replaced the Army’s simple wooden crosses and stars with those of marble: the agency also added structures, such as beautiful statues.’

A book of this magnitude is difficult to summarize and the author’s summary states it best: `A descendant of Revolutionary War heroes, Howard Louis Peckham’s love for his country started early. After his dream of graduating from West Point came true, he served for twenty years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 1942 he transferred to the Quartermaster Corps and went to Washington, where he headed the Fuels and Lubricants Division of the Quartermaster General’s office. While serving concurrently as a member of the Army-Navy Petroleum Board, he testified before Congress about army petroleum needs. For his meritorious work of procuring fuels and allocating them to our armed forces worldwide, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal. In postwar Paris, Howard Peckham headed the American Graves Registration Command and returned more than 80,000 American war dead to the United States. Approximately 60,000 others were interred in ten permanent American cemeteries in Europe, graded and constructed under his command. After his return to the United States, he served in highly responsible positions until his army retirement in 1956. As a civilian, his patriotic service continued when he worked for the Free Europe Committee and traveled abroad to meet with Western European diplomats. His goal was to get them more involved in the Committee’s work. Nations behind the Iron Curtain peacefully freed from Communist domination, Howard Peckham believed, would ensure more security for the United States. Duty, country, and patriotism would continue to dominate his life to the end.’

Rich in detail yet never lacking in forward momentum, this memoir to a man whose life was directed by his patriotism is an inspiration to read. The writing is accompanied by photographs and drawings and has the warmth and respect of a family scrapbook as well as a significant document about the military history of this country.”

You can read other reviews at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B6EIUNI

Happy Reading!

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Like many other Americans, I turned on the TV this past Saturday and watched–with fascination and sorrow–as the Kennedy family journeyed to Arlington Cemetery to bury another esteemed member of their clan–Ted Kennedy, the beloved senator from Massachusetts.

Watching the ceremony brought back memories of my own visits to Arlington, the beautiful and sacred grounds where at least seven members of my family are buried, including my parents and maternal grandparents.

The following excerpts from my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, describe a visit I made to Arlington many years ago with my father:

       I will never forget the summer day a few years after my mother’s death in 1963 when my father and I visited her gravesite. While we were walking down one of the many pathways, he pointed out the names of a few of his friends, whose names were neatly carved in the granite stones. These men were members of his generation and, like him, had served in the army during World War II. A few were West Point classmates of his, joined by wives who either predeceased them or died after they did. Those men had always seen him as a leader. When they were cadets, Howard Peckham was selected as first captain of his class, the highest rank in the cadet chain of command. The title gave him the privilege of speaking to the administration on their behalf and directing their training.

There was a matter-of-fact tone in my father’s voice as he spoke their names—nothing forlorn. He was well aware of his own mortality and knew that one day, maybe not too far in the future, he would be laid to rest on those same hallowed grounds. Although Howard Peckham was a realist in regard to his inevitable demise, he was also optimistic. Ever since his boyhood years, he maintained a strong religious faith and a belief in an afterlife. He was convinced that he would one day see his deceased family members and good friends again.

           Howard Peckham and his army compatriots would see each other at different places over the years and during changing circumstances. They would meet during catastrophic wartimes that shook America like ponderous earthquakes—World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. During those dark days, my father and his army friends resembled ships that pass each other in the bleak nighttime of world conflict. All of those wars affected them in one way or another, especially those men who came through World War II unscathed but who lost sons in the fighting in Korea or Vietnam.

When the storm clouds of war finally drifted away, and tranquility again temporarily hovered over our land, the men resembled travelers who greet each other during the bright daylight of peace. Those are the days they especially treasured.

       Ever since the end of the Vietnam War, which is the last major conflict discussed in A Salute to Patriotism, the drumbeat of United States Army history has continued to move steadily forward, and other soldiers have answered the call to duty and country in faraway, dangerous lands.

In 2008, as I complete my writing of this book, American young people are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping to keep us free.  A Salute to Patriotism is dedicated to them.

Note: A Salute to Patriotism is available on Amazon. com. Click this link to look inside the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0966585550/


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