September 12, 1918 The day my family changed forever…

“On August 3, 1918, Major Harvey was transferred to the 103rd Field Artillery, and assigned to the second battery. With this battery he went into position September llth, participating in St. Mihiel offensive, September 12th, on which day he was instantly killed by a hostile shell while making a reconnaissance of territory from which the enemy had been driven.”  From For What They Gave on Saturday Afternoon

Major Harry Aloysius Harvey was my grandfather.  He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1915, in the class that is known as The Class the Stars Fell On.  There, he hung out with Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, the men who later distinguished themselves in service to our country and with the men who also died on the battlefield.

harry-a-harvey west point pic

On Memorial Day, I honor my grandfather, and cry at his grave, hoping that he is proud of the woman I have become.  Hoping that he has watched the life and the career that his son had at West Point, in the Army and later in the Air Force. Hoping that he has looked down from heaven and watched the lives of my brothers, my children and now grandchildren.  That he is enjoying the legacy that began with his birth on January 9, 1890.

harry a harve yearbook page

I can’t help wondering how our family would have changed had he lived.  I’m sure that my father would still have followed in his footsteps and graduated from West Point in the class of 1941. Would my grandparents have had more children? Would I have had more aunts and uncles?  Would I have played with more cousins?

While understanding the tragedy of this loss, and the sadness that I feel that I didn’t have him as a grandfather to hug and with whom I could share my happiness and problems, I realize that I also would be missing a whole branch of my family tree.

My grandmother, Ethel Canavan Harvey, remarried about 5 years after my grandfather was KIA.  Her husband was a wonderful grandfather. It was years before I made the connection that I wasn’t biologically connected to him.  And through this marriage, my father had two brothers he loved and respected.  And the next generation gave me cousins who I can’t imagine not having in my life. And now a next generation of family for my children to be a part of.

It is impossible to be more proud of my grandfather, Major Harry Aloysius Harvey.  I honor him, give thanks to, and for him.  For his life that he put on enemy lines, and the sacrifices that he made.  For the life that he gave for the United States of America.  And I love him on this Memorial Day, as I do every day.

grave at west point

September 12, 1918.  The day my family changed forever.

About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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127 Responses to September 12, 1918 The day my family changed forever…

  1. lbeth1950 says:

    You were blessed to have both of them.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.
    Shine On

    Liked by 4 people

  3. What a beautiful tribute.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Paul says:

    Wonderful post, Barb.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. pattyalcala says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. George says:

    God Bless your grandfather and all those who sacrificed so much for our freedom.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Mama says:

    Lovely dedication for both. I hope you had a lovely Memorial Day.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Hi Barb and thank you for following my blog.. A great tribute to your grandfather. Mine was in the British Army from 1914 and was wounded three times. He and my grandmother agreed not to have a family whilst he was at the front but after his third injury he retrained for a position on the home front they had my mother. However, with the final push he was sent to Northern France in September 1918 and was killed by a sniper on November 2nd just 9 days before peace. My grandmother also remarried but never fully recovered and died at just 52. I visited his grave in a small cemetary in France when we lived close by and was very surprised at how emotional I felt and like you hope that in some way he knows that his family lives on and thrives.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Barb Knowles says:

      What a poignant story. Like your grandfather, and as you can see from the date, my grandfather died very close to armistice as well. He was also buried in France with a white marker, but West Point had all (I’m assuming all as I don’t think my grandmother was consulted) their graduates returned and reburied at West Point. That was a few years later and my grandmother had already remarried. I understand that it caused her more pain. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It must have been very difficult. My mother never knew where her father was buried until my sister worked with the War Graves Commission in 1992.. In 1996 my husband and I were living in Brussels and only 60 kilometres from the little village where the small military ceremony was located. My mother, sister and I went there on the 80th anniversary of his death to lay a wreath and I think for my mother it provided closure. take care.. Sally

        Liked by 3 people

      • Barb Knowles says:

        Wow so horrible not to know where he was buried. I hope that while very sad, your mother felt some comfort in going there.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. A very touching tribute. I too had a grandfather who succumbed to injuries in WWI. He was a field surgeon and also a major. I have often thought of how the family would have been had he lived. My father was a naval aviator in WWII and had lasting effects of his service which finally took him in 1951. Thank you for your piece (which honors all who served) and for following my blog.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. GM says:

    Such an interesting article definitely deserves to be read. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. What a beautiful tribute Barb, perfect especially for this weekend!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Thank you! I’m very excited that this was chosen. I’ve received comments from others that had similar experiences with relatives KIA in World War I . Thanks again

      Like

  12. EnviroSolutions says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and a absolutely beautiful way to remember your grandfather.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. lhvi340 says:

    Reblogged this on 2PalmsKeyLime.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Trevor Hall says:

    All I can say is that I would be honored if my grandaughter took a few minutes to share my name, and the sacrifice I made 103 years after my passing. America has men such as your grandfather to thank for the freedom we ever so often take for granted.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Barb Knowles says:

      What a lovely thing to say. I’ve always wondered how this holiday went from what you and I are talking about to grilled hamburgers and corn on the cob. I tried to blend the 2 and when my kids were young we would go put flowers on his grave and have a picnic along the Hudson River at West Point.

      Like

  15. mystic7785 says:

    Very rare to see someone dig this deep quite refreshing

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Enticing title, sounds like a movie, or chapter for a short novel.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. What a timely post. Excellent.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Indeed a beautiful tribute. Your grandfather’s a hero.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. jose junior says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather.

    https://etempodepauta.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Evan Lin says:

    Beautifully Written.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. jagnnath says:

    Reblogged this on jagnnath.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. mariaholm says:

    Thank you for sharing about the loss of your grandfather. You are right that the thoughts and strong feelings follow us our whole life. I went to see the big military grave yards in France close to Somme. Every fallen person has his story.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. MaryHill says:

    What an inspiring story and man. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. sharath12031 says:

    hi barb ,a great tribute to your grandfather

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Qim Arillo says:

    Inspirational !

    Liked by 2 people

  27. ryanwor says:

    You have my blessing

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Oh thank you! I don’t mean to sound corny, but thoughts from everyone should be on the families going through this now. I was fortunate in that I didn’t have to deal with this first-hand.

      Like

  28. ryanwor says:

    I feel really bad

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      That’s what war does, though. And I have the blessing of having all my cousins who would not have existed if he hadn’t died. Life is strange. I’m happy that you read this and commented. Thank you!

      Like

  29. testxmav says:

    Reblogged this on testxmav and commented:
    lol

    Liked by 1 person

  30. amommasview says:

    How very beautiful. What a great man he was. And what a great man stepped in his place to be a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Barb Knowles says:

    What nice thoughts! Thank you. I’m really glad you liked it. And, yes, I am very blessed.

    Like

  32. any1mark66 says:

    What an incredible history. Being able to tie to such an interesting event that changed

    Liked by 1 person

  33. majiitk says:

    Most beautiful , thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  34. i8there4irun says:

    Beautiful read. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. lucyaustin96 says:

    Such a moving tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. dalesgirl1 says:

    Emotion well expressed

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Reblogged this on (tH)InkSlinger and commented:
    “On Memorial Day, I honor my grandfather, and cry at his grave, hoping that he is proud of the woman I have become. “

    Liked by 1 person

  38. You are welcome! This story nearly brought a tear to my eye; I had to share it!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Roger Pocock says:

    Reblogged this on Windows into History (Reblogging and Links) and commented:
    Suggested reading – history from a personal perspective, and very moving. Reblogged on Windows into History.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Thank you
    Fantastic blog
    Good luck
    +++{{{

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Roohi&Prachi says:

    Your rich heritage is greatly fascinating and something I’m sure you are very proud of. My father is also a military man x

    Liked by 1 person

  42. mariaholm says:

    My grandmother was born in 1890 like your grandfather so in 1918 life had only begun for him and for her. My grandmother married my grandfather who had lost her first wife in the Spanish Flu during the WWI and because of the many soldiers at one place the risk of getting the deadly disease increased. Had she not died I would not have been here.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Lovely post, Barb. I never knew my grandfather who passed when my mother was 11 years old. I see the old photos and often wondered who he was deep down. From what I understand, he did not serve our country, but the legacy he left was important enough to his survivors.
    Thanks for sharing the legacy of this great man who dared to serve. Forever grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      It sounds like you have a good story there as well. Like you, I only know the surface stuff, not having met him. And the “glory” was what people talked about. Not childhood stories, for example. I wish I had thought to ask when my parents and my grandmother were still alive.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. Barb Knowles says:

    Reblogged this on saneteachers and commented:

    I was honored last year to have this post about my grandfather and his service to our country Freshly Pressed. As Memorial Day approaches, I want to share it again. Thank you for your interest, and thank you to all the men and women who have given their lives to protect ours.

    Like

  45. Elle Knowles says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a grandfather you only knew through the voices and memories of others. I’m positive he’s looking down and smiling on you every day Barb. ~Elle

    Liked by 1 person

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