Veteran’s Day

My father join the military in 1946 at the age of 17. He traveled the globe as part of the US effort to clean up after WW II. In China, he met a young woman that he fell in love with. He couldn’t speak the language and she couldn’t speak English, but it was love. Sadly, at that time, enlisted men could not marry women that they met on tour. Only officers had that privilege. Had that not been the case, I may have been half-Chinese.

He spent two years helping with the clean up efforts in Okinawa. Amongst his travels, he stopped over in Honolulu and fell in love with Hawaii. He has told me on several occasions that he can never go back because if he did, he would never leave. I went to Hawaii last year and it’s a beautiful place. Pearl Harbor is particularly haunting. I can only imagine what it looked like at that time with the devastation so fresh.

In 1947, the US Air Force was split off from the Army and my father ended his career as part of the Air Force. He spent the last of his Air Force career as a clerk typing out forms. Each form needed 13 copies and because you can only make one duplicate at a time, that meant he had to type each form seven times in addition to one original. At least he learned how to type.

I spoke to my dad last night. I said, “Dad, it’s Veterans Day.”

He replied, “So what?”

I said, “I want to thank you for your service to our country.”

He seemed stunned by my statement of thanks. I don’t think anyone has ever thanked him for serving. I think we need to remember to thank our veterans more than just once a year. Whether in war or in peace, they are willing to lay down their lives to protect us and defend our rights.

Thank you to all the vets and military personnel out there. We appreciate you.


2 thoughts on “Veteran’s Day

  1. I am also very big on remembering that this was originally Armistice Day, a solemn marker of the end of WW I, or The Great War (as it was then called). I think it makes a difference that we remember that, and while we celebrate those who served and made it back, we remember always the many who didn’t.

  2. My dad is a vet too. He went into Vietnam willingly after his brother was drafted. After WWII, a law was created that two brothers could not be in active combat together.

    My dad and his brother were sent to different boot camps. My dad did everything he could to be picked for an active combat outfit. And when he got in country, he was. That’s when both my father and his brother were informed that the other was in active combat and one would have to step down. Instead of my gratefully stepping down at the incredible sacrifice of his brother, my uncle stayed in active combat. It forced my father’s hand and made his entire effort worthless.

    My father was reassigned to Graves’ Registration for his remaining time in country. Essentially, he was a mortician of sorts. He surveyed yesterday’s hotzones and rice patties for corpses or at least parts. I can only imagine how disturbing that was.

    I give my special thanks to veterans who chose to enter into service. I admire their bravery and courage to make and carry out that choice.

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