Something very special and magical happened this past 9/11. Pop described it as “AMAZING” and “BLOCKBUSTER!” Before I go into detail, first I’d like to say thank YOU and Happy Veterans to all the veterans.
The Montgomery Hospice & Prince George’s Hospice did a beautiful thing by honoring Pop with a Veteran’s Pinning Ceremony this past 9/11. It was a celebration and recognition of Pop’s service in the Army and is typically done in person. However, due to COVID it was via zoom, which worked out great to allow for family and friends from near and far to join in.
Michael Oliver (the veteran’s volunteer) led the celebration with engaging Pop and sharing details of his service from my covert pre-interviews. Read more about it below. And, review the full zoom recording here https://youtu.be/0m-1C_t_whg and excerpts in the image and comments. It really was nice.
Also during the ceremony, which included Micheal’s thoughtful acknowledgment of Pop’s service, our nurse Christina was on hand to present the items, which consisted of a certificate, pin, star, and blanket. [at 0:08:00 of above YouTube video link] And, Chaplain Renee [0:25:23] and Travonne our Social Worker [0:31:30] were also in attendance. And, we got a chuckle out of how Pop almost got kicked out of hospice. [0:31:25] They really are a professional and caring team. Sidebar: We took the time to acknowledge Christina for her amazing service as a hospice nurse and the way she loves up on Pop always with a heart warming smile. She was pregnant at the time and we gifted her with a card and baby gift. She’s currently on maternity leave and we miss her. [0:27:21]
The funny part is the event was a surprise. I told Pop we were having a zoom and requested that he wear a button down shirt. Nurse Christina came as if only to do her visit. When it’s time for the zoom he comes out in a hoodie… I was like, Pop… He went and changed
The cool part was Pop wearing his nearly 70 year-old Army jacket and my brother Greg reminiscing about it. They were surprised that I’ve had it for quite some time. [0:22:11]
A very special moment was my cousin, Sargent First Class Santina sharing her thoughts about her joining the Army and being inspired by Pop. She is often the youngest and most decorated in the room. And, Pop was in awe and proud of Santina’s rank position in just 14 years of service. [0:20:09] She also chimed in to explain the star that was one of the gifts and how they are usually stars from an actual flag that’s gifted to veterans. [0:13:05]
It was truly a beautiful experience. So much so that immediately afterwards and the days proceeding the event, Pop was still expressing his amazement of it all. Feeling like how did he deserve such an honoring. [0:32:25]
About Pop’s Service:
Enric Q. Boxill came to the U.S. on March 6, 1949, joining his mother and sisters who were already living in Harlem. Two years after arriving here and a few weeks shy of turning 22, Pop was drafted into the Army, serving two years from May 22, 1951-May 23, 1953.
When Pop was asked why he joined the Army, he said “I was told to.” If not, he would have had to return to Trinidad. [0:00:03]
When he joined the Army, he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. During those times he would have had to serve at least three years before becoming a citizen. [0:18:00]
His basic training took place at Ft. Nix in New Jersey. And, he served in the Special Services Unit 4077 at Ft. Myer in Arlington, VA. There he first delivered the Daily Bulletin on the base. And, later he worked in the Post Office doing change of addresses for officers passing through. [0:02:50]
This particular base was a stop for enlisted celebrities and athletes. He saw celebrity soldiers like Eddie Fisher (Debbie Reynolds father and married to Elizabeth Taylor) and Vic DeMoan. And, he would run in the morning with a boxer in training so he could get the good eggs and not Army eggs. [0:03:45]
At that time the troops were segregated. All Black units existed until just before he stopped serving. The majority of Black troops had duties other than combat, such as kitchen duty, orderlies, etc. [0:05:27]
During his spare time, on occasion Pop would travel into DC to listen to jazz greats such as saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. Probably visiting the U Street area, also known as Black Broadway back then. [0:02:50]
Shortly after Pop was drafted into the Army, his brother Clive enlisted in the Air Force.
Watching the recording last night filled me with gratitude for the moment and for Pop knowing he is appreciated and loved. Peace. Be safe. Love. #BeDoLove #91YearsYoung #CareGiversMatter #CareGiver #CareGivers FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #VeteransDay #Veteran #ArmyVeteran