Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Veterans Day always makes me choke up a little. When I think of Veterans, past and present, and their courage and strength, it just gets to me.

My dad was a Navy Fighter Pilot in WWII. He served in the Pacific Theater, bringing home a Distinguished Flying Cross, among other medals of honor. And yet, we didn't know that (or much else) about his Navy career until he passed away. Then many, many things were discovered and unearthed as we went through his personal belongings. A new side of our father was discovered when a cigar box full of his letters, written to his parents during his tour, was found. These letters, beginning with his enlistment at the age of 22, show a close relationship with his parents, our grandparents, that we didn't really know about.

My dad's older brother enlisted first with the Army in 1942:

and dad the Navy a few months later.

By following his journey of training through these letters, we learned how long it takes to become a navy pilot. That it really was a "weeding out process" as they went from training to schools all around the country. And that, truly, only a few- with the right stuff- make it.
photo of dad getting his wings:
By the time my dad actually made it to the navy carrier the U.S.S. Essex, the war was winding down. The letters from him are much fewer and farther in between at that time, with some of the letters having been censored- neatly cut squares of paper removed. They are not as cheeful or happy as the ones prior to that time.
And then, the war was over.
And Dad eventually returned home, put his memories and war experiences behind him, and resumed his life, never really mentioning or talking about that period of his life much again, as was typical of his generation. They just did what they had to do and moved on, trying hard not to look back.
I am so proud of my dad - and all of the veterans past and present- for their service.

Thank You Veterans

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please sign your name if you are anonymous- thanks!