In Memorial …

Posted: January 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Monday, May 28, 2007
In Memorial…

Current mood: touched Category: Life

My father was career Navy. During my early childhood we lived in Rhode Island, Florida and South Carolina before we moved to California and he got out of the service. My early childhood was punctuated with him being gone for long periods of time out on the ship. As a matter of fact, he was in the middle east when I was born. It was always hard to drop him off at the Naval Base. My mother never did well either with his absences. He lived through World War II. He had mementos from all his other trips around the house… an Irish shallaie. Vases from Italy and Greece. But the things from the war he had stashed away out of sight… a Japanese rifle with bayonet and photo albums I didn’t see till I was much older filled with pictures of him as a younger men with his buddies from the boat, and darker images of devastation and death. It wasn’t till we were both much older and his life had changed drastically until he would talk about it. I could tell there was so much pain there that he carried inside. He was just 18 when he joined the Navy… a fresh faced farm boy. He soon saw the world, became a man, and had something inside of him die. I think it’s the story of his generation. They had a job to do and they did it. There was a need and they stepped up to the challenge…. and they suffered in silence when they came home. One of the casualties of war in my father’s life was his relationship with God. He said he just saw too much.

Later in his life he almost died in his 50’s. He felt like he had a second chance on life and he came to grips with some of that pain and began to talk about it. He also got back on speaking terms with the God of his childhood. In the process the hatred he felt towards the Japanese and other people who were different than him was dissipated too. It was amazing to watch his life come full circle. I was proud of him for who he was and how he lived his life.

When he died, I contacted the powers that be to have a military honor guard for his funeral. I found out that so many World War II vets were dying that they didn’t have enough honor guards to do all of their funerals. They suggested that I contact the Veterans instead. They came to do my father’s funeral. I managed to hold it together for the whole service until we were at the graveside and these Veterans were doing their part. Here were men my father’s age who lived through what he did. They were there to remember out of respect for his memory and the memory of all their friends they lost. They carefully folded the flag from his casket and handed it to me so gently and so lovingly and I just broke down at the thought of what these men, and my father had lived through, and their willingness to protect us… and the sacrifices they made.

Today I’m also thinking about my friend Lisa. She was young and in love. She was scheduled to get married when her fiance got back from Iraq. She was pregnant with their first baby… a little girl. I saw the ultrasounds. Less than a month before the birth of her baby she got word that he was killed while he was out on patrol and they were ambushed. She had to deliver her baby while she was grieving the loss of the man that she loved. Her little girl is the spitting image of her father. When Katrina hit, she went back to New Orleans to help. She said she knew what it was like to lose everything and need a helping hand. She’s doing everything she can to keep his memory alive for her little girl. She’s my hero. And so was he. He was a man doing his job. It’s my hope and prayer that not many more of our men and women will have to give their lives in this horrible war.

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