Friday, November 12, 2010

Family Friday - Russell Lee Brandt

Russell Lee Brandt is technically my father's cousin. His first cousin - but I doubt my father knew him very well. His mother, Grandma Alice, was one of 13 children and by the time my father was born, Russell Lee Brandt was about to be fighting in World War II, so there was quite the age difference.

Yesterday, we honored our veterans and Russell Lee Brandt was one of them. And what he survived is amazing. He was on the USS Indianapolis when it was hit by torpedoes from the Japanese Navy, it sank in 12 minutes. Wow! How scary - 12 minutes to get off a huge cruiser and into the water. And then for 4 days they drifted, were picked off by sharks, exposed to the sun and sea, and no one had even been looking for them! The military did not even know they were hit or sank until a patrol boat saw them. Out of 880 who survived the initial sinking, only 316 soldiers survived the sea. Russell Lee Brandt survived. I don't know how, I don't know how people don't give up. I don't know how he survived and over 500 people did not....

But he did survive and I am so proud of him and all the other great men and women who have served our wonderful country. I have many relatives who have served this country and I thank them all. Thank you veterans, thank you for the freedom we have and thank you for having the will to never give up. You are all heroes.

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