THANK YOU VETERANS
My Dad was always the consummate “veteran” After serving in the Navy from 1945-52 he developed a lot of “Navy” habits. I can remember many times of waking up in my very early grade school years to “Hit the deck, hit the deck” What is the deck, and why…do I want to hit it, I thought? It seemed rather strange back then, but now as I look back through nostalgic eyes, it was rather natural. Having only been out of the service for a few years back in those days, Dad still had the “Navy” in his blood. He just wanted me and my brother to experience some of the rigors of “boot camp” which he had gone through, so he was simply running his own “mini” version with us.
There were also those many, many “Navy” stories. The knockdown drag out fights with fellow ship mates over some trivial slight magnified by being in close quarters out on the Ocean for so long. Then there were the memories of the horrors of death and starvation in a post War Korea, and in China, with human beings literally freezing to death in the streets. The many slick trades of cigarettes for goods…like the set of painted porcelain dragon china which hung in Mom and Dad’s kitchen for so long. The earlier memories of the last days of World War II, first being a gunner’s mate on the ship’s huge guns, then moving on to the 115 degree boiler room and advancing in rank. I was regaled by all these tales more than once, and in retrospect I was enthralled by the listening. There were so many more of them, and they filled my childhood with wonder and awe at the things which went on in the big World.
Dad never lost his allegiance to his flag and country by one iota as he got old. Though he hated War, and told me that many times, he always respected the people who were serving their country. One of my favorite photos of him is of him standing there holding an American flag and looking wistfully out at the camera…perhaps thinking about those days that he fought for his country, watched some of his friends and ship mates die for their country, and came back home a changed man.
I want to thank all of you Veterans today for YOUR service. I too have always been against War, but never have I ever had anything but respect for the human beings who have to stare death and hardship directly in the eye in service to our country. Thank you, and Bless you.