COURAGE | Cabernet Sauvignon
COURAGE | Cabernet Sauvignon
El Camino Real Vineyard
Santa Ynez Valley
2015 | Picked by Family
2017 | Put to Bottle
2017 - 2039 | Enjoy
June 6, 1944
John Saarloos was a part of that invasion. When I stop to think about what the Weeks, Days, Hours, Minutes and the Final Seconds that led to that moment..... My mind seems to shut off.
To be sitting on a boat crossing a channel, The sea salt coming over the bow stinging your Iowa Farmboy Face, drenching every inch of you as you stand shoulder to shoulder at what has to feel like a million miles from home waiting for what you can only believe is the worst, and I mean, The worst possible version of Hell your mind can conjure up. Every last second had to feel both like a relief, but in the same instance, the terror must wash over you that you have now that second has been burnt and you are just that much closer to the inevitability of your training and why you signed up in the first place.
In your hands that once held tools to bring life from the earth now holds a weapon to take life from it.
John Saarloos was the son of a farmer. He is the oldest of 3 brothers and a sister.
His father died at a young age, and John being the eldest dropped out of school and became the man of the house.
The farm was a ten horse farm, a large physically demanding load to bear at a young age. It was called a ten horse farm because that is how many horses were needed to work the expanse of the land.
John kept the farm moving forward. John kept his family fed. He kept my Grandfather in school as he worked in place of his father.
John did what needed to be done.
John Honored his Father and Prepared the Way for Those Yet to Come.
My Grandfather lost his father at a young age, and when his brother took over to provide for them, I am sure that he rose in my grandfather's mind from the mythical Big Brother Status to something short of Legendary to him. He was now the example, as the loss of a father and guidance of a Big Brother had now collapsed into one person that was both. John Saarloos became Provider, Brother, Father Figure, Example, Hero.
John Saarloos was the only thing that held a fragile family together.
Quite a task for a teenager.
But he did it, He Honored + Prepared.
When my Great Grandmother remarried, it was akin to a business being bought out. The Farm now had a new lead. John Saarloos was the young leaders that kept it together.
But his job was finished.
Iowa was in a terrible depression as was the rest of the world.
The home he had grown up in had a new father.
He had been a Man for so long that how could he be someone else’s son.
So John Saarloos and his now 17year old younger brother Gilbert went to enlist.
To be Men on their own.
To serve the country they loved, and to defend the land their forefathers were from.
When they went to enlist, they Took the Older brother and sent the younger home and told him to never come back. They had told him that he was 4F.
A Comment tactic to not take both brothers and possibly wipe out a bloodline in the inevitability of War.
I often think, what if, it was just that John stood in front of my Grandfather in line. What if they took both of them. What if, What if, What if……
Truthfully, I wouldn't be here; You wouldn't be reading this, my children wouldn’t….
That one little moment.
It gives me pause to think that when we think about in the past, we see these moments that have such repercussions today. But rarely do we think about what we are doing today will have such repercussions in the future.
Perhaps that is another thought for another time.
They sent my Grandfather home and John to War.
John told Gil “I am probably never coming back.”
My grandfather set off for California as he was a Man without a home, without a father, without his older brother, he was on his own. He set off to the place where he would meet my grandmother and become the Father that he never had.
From photographs of my Grandfather, I can see he crisscrossed the country seeing his brother every chance he could. There are photos of them in Texas, in California, In New York. In an age before plane tickets and secure communication, the evidence of my Grandfathers love for his brother is evident.
John Saarloos was Important to my Grandfather, and to This Family.
When I was a child, I saw a howitzer firing on the TV news while I was at my grandparent's house.
I was sitting at the kitchen table, and I said “Cool” when it fired, I couldn't have been older than 8 or 9.
My Grandfather, sitting in his normal chair Said to me.
“There is nothing Cool about that.”
It was the first time my grandfather had spoken to me in a rough way.
I asked my grandmother after my grandfather had to excuse himself,
“What did I say that was wrong grandma?”
She responded, “Your grandpa lost his brother in the War, you should ask him about John.”
So, I did.
My Grandfather and I sat under a tree, and he told me about his brother. He did so in such a way that I could see how much he missed him, How much he loved him, How much he meant to a person I considered my Hero.
And all at once, under that tree, His Hero became Mine.
As I follow these little red threads through my families lives there are knots tied around moments, they are linked to people that, while at the time, were only living their lives they way they believed correct, have now with time become the reasons we live the way that we do.
John wasn’t preaching to his brother. He just lived his life, and his brother watched.
In turn, my grandfather lived the life his brother never got to live and let his sons watch.
Then they did the same, And I watched.
Hopefully, I am carrying on this message from John, to My Grandfather to My Father, and now I will live in such a way that this will be handed to my children and in turn to theirs.
Sergeant John W. Saarloos A.S.No. 37189591
Died on June 12th, 1944 in Cherbourg France, as part of Operation Overlord.
A Nazi Tank fired on the Church tower that held a sniper. The tower fell upon John.
Written on a letter signed by Franklin D. Rosevelt
HE STANDS IN THE UNBROKEN LINE OF PATRIOTS WHO HAVE DARED TO DIE
THAT FREEDOM MIGHT LIVE, AND GROW, AND INCREASE ITS BLESSINGS
FREEDOM LIVES, AND THROUGH IT, HE LIVES -
IN A WAY THAT HUMBLES THE UNDERTAKINGS OF MOST MEN
I read this almost every day,
I think to myself, God, grant me the strength to live up to this statement.
To make sure he would be proud of us,
To make sure that he is not forgotten,
That he doesn't die that second time.
John never wanted to be on a bottle of wine.
But 70 years later, it would be a travesty for him not to be.
In Grateful Memory