Good morning, Daddy. I still miss you, after all these years. When you served in the South Pacific during World War II we managed to get through the days missing you. While mother worked at Boeing on those B-29s, the two of us kids went to school and played and helped around the house, and we missed our Dad. I never understood then what it would be like to have you gone forever.
The day the announcement came that the war was over, everyone ran up and down the streets banging on pans and shouting and dancing. As a young child, it was exciting to have a Dad serving in the Navy, but I really didn’t understand what war was all about. A while after you came home, you told us later the Kamakazi planes that crashed on the deck of the USS Attu, a flaptop where you were called “Sparky” because you manned the radio. And you made the stories fun for us. We never realized that you might not have come home.
Now, I’m much older, and I see war differently, I see heroes differently. Today is a good time to write down my feelings about the men and women who fight for this country. It’s a good day to thank them, each and every one. But on second thought, every day is good for that. Each time we meet a veteran, let’s stop and say thank you. It’s little enough to do for those who lay their lives on the line to keep us free.
In my family, my Dad, his three brothers and his sister’s oldest boy all served in the Navy during that war. His youngest brother died of cancer after being a part of the Atomic bomb tests in the South Pacific, but they all survived the battles, as did many of their cousins. It was a time when the streets were empty of all but a very few men. A time when they carried guns and fought the enemy instead of walking to the movies with their families, or spending a day fishing, or mowing the lawn or sitting down to eat with their wives and children. If we did those things at all, we did them without our husbands, fathers, brothers and uncles.
Most of those men are gone now, the few that remain, they say are of an average age of 80. It was a long time ago, but a time we best not forget. Sometimes it seems we never learn much from our history, for here we are still fighting wars. Wars that aren’t romantic like a novel, not fun like a TV show, not exciting like a movie, but rather dangerous and destructive of spirit.
Today, let’s stop and remind ourselves of these men and women, those who have gone on and those still living and those on the battle fields. Thank you, and stay safe.