Dad was 85 the year he rode in his first Veterans Day parade. Growing up, we heard the occasional stories of his experiences, but like many of the women and men who served during World War II, he did not speak much of the war itself. I actually learned more about his experiences after he enlisted in the Army Air Force following his high school graduation in May after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012. His long-term memory was very good up until nothing in his brain worked the last few months prior to his death. It was an amazing and incredible opportunity to be with him during those years from 2012-2017, and to gain some insight into what his early years were like for him–including his service during WWII.
Both Dad (the oldest son) and his brother Glen (next oldest) served during World War II. Two others served in Korea later. Since the death of my mother in early 2019, I have gone through many of the family records–with many more to go. I keep finding letters, news items, and photographs that my father’s mother meticulously saved in her scrapbooks–thank goodness. It is a miracle of sorts that many of those survived the years of poor storage. Since Dad was the one who oversaw their needs over the years, and was the one who stored all the belongings from their home, Sis and I found them as we cleaned out the house in summer 2018.
My purpose here is not to describe the service Dad and his brothers performed, though I believe it to have been significant and important. Dad built runways, dams and roads in India and China which helped aircraft and land vehicles navigate in the carrying out of their missions. I have no idea what his brothers did yet, as I have yet to sort through those items.
Rather, I was inspired by two things to make this post: Peggy’s post about her family’s service, and remembering a post I made years ago about “Jake’s Hands.” I share both of those links now, in the hopes that we will remember and allow our past history to help guide us forward.