In my head, I understand our 92-year old dad led a good life and passed peacefully from this earth in February of this year. But my heart still misses this amazing man, who loved his family and his country, even more on this Veteran’s Day.
Dad was beyond proud of his military service that began at 18 when he entered the Navy in 1942.
He achieved the rank of Quartermaster 1st class. He served on the USS Elmore – APA42, an attack troop transport - and received the Asian-Pacific Medal, the Philippine Liberation Medal, American Theater Medal, and Victory Medal.
But it was during a stop in Washington that his life changed when he met our mom, who was Queen of the local USO. And that was the start of our family saga.
The Navy called Dad back to serve in the Korean Conflict in the early 1950s, so he had to leave mom and his two young children (my sister and me) and go to war again.
Dad recalled that moment in a 2015 interview in The Norwalk Hour:
"That was quite an experience. I had started school and was called to reenlist. I had to leave everything, say goodbye and out the door I went," he told the reporter.
Dad was consummately proud of his military service and loved his country with a passion. Aside from family, one of the proudest moments for our veteran came in 2015 with a one-day VIP Day of Honor monument tour of Washington, D.C. through the American Warrior initiative.
Accompanied by my brother, the trip was the chance of a lifetime for dad to revisit Washington landmarks and spend time with 70 other vets on the Flight who shared his wartime experiences.
For as long as he was able after retiring from teaching, Dad visited schools on Veterans Day to share stories of his military service. He made history come alive for students and offered positive messages.
Dad's letter below to his granddaughter and her classmates on Veteran’s Day 2002 for their family history project encapsulates his beliefs.
On behalf of myself and many veteran friends -- Thank you for your welcome letter. It is an honor to be remembered by you and you classmates on this Veteran's Day -- Nov. 11, 2002.
<a bit teary-eyed here as I feel his words in my heart>
And many thanks and blessings ...
.... to all vets who served then
,,,, and to those still serving today.
What do you do on Veterans Day? What memories, stories do you have about your veterans? Please share in the comment section.
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