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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11/8/2017 09:18:35 pm
Cat, This was BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for sharing your father with us. Makes me miss my own...Did you know my novel takes place in 1952 and the two main characters have family members serving in Korea. Did you dad ever share any of those stories with you? If so, email me. I'd love to hear them.
11/10/2017 02:17:22 pm
Thanksfor reading dad's letter, Carol, and your kind comments. I knew your story took place back in the day, set in the south during segregation, but not about the Korean War part. I have several letters dad wrote at that time that I am transcribing. If I find anything of interest to your story, I'm happy to pass it along.
11/9/2017 01:50:04 am
Glad you had your dad around for so long, Cat. He sounds like a wonderful guy. You can see the kindness in his eyes.
11/10/2017 02:19:24 pm
Sarah, he was such a blessing. I love that you could see the kindness in his eye -:D. Small world about your cousins. We'll need to DM to see if dad knew them.
11/9/2017 04:58:18 pm
What a beautiful tribute for your dad today.This letter is a treasure for you and your family to have.
11/10/2017 02:21:06 pm
Rosie, how awesome that your family served, too. It's a sacrifice for which I'm ever grateful.
11/9/2017 09:21:23 pm
11/10/2017 02:22:04 pm
Joan, those are the sweetest words! Many thank -:D.
11/10/2017 08:01:43 am
What a beautiful story! Your dad had a wonderful life and we are grateful for his service!
11/10/2017 02:23:09 pm
He was a blessing, indeed, Jeanann -:D.
Rae Jean Poff
11/10/2017 03:39:26 pm
He was so deserving of the tribute you paid him.As well as loving his country, he also loved his family.Well done good and faithful servant.
11/14/2017 04:57:29 pm
Rae Jean, your beautiful words move me. I believe dad is smiling over them, too.
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