Veterans Day, 2020

Dad rides in the Veterans Day Parade, 2010

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.

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13 Responses to Veterans Day, 2020

  1. peggyjoan42 says:

    A wonderful post about your dad and his brother. Thanks to you father and uncle for their service. I know my brother-inn-law would not talk about Korea when he returned. Nor does my brother talk about Viet Nam. These men who battled for our freedom deserve tribute and to be remember and honored each year. Thanks for your wonderful post. I am sorry your father had Alzheimers. I lost three of my immediate family to that dreaded disease.

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  2. Betty says:

    Thank you for this post. My dad was in the Army Air Force as well. He passed away in 1993 after having Alzheimer’s for about 8 years. We owe a debt of gratitude to all our veterans, and it would serve our country well to work towards good for all. One last thought. Your dad’s smile is the same in both pictures. Have a good Veterans Day!

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    • Suzassippi says:

      Thank you, Betty. I appreciate your sharing your father was in the Army Air Force also. I recently learned my best friend’s husband’s father was in the AAF, and flew missions over the Hump in India/China border. We mused he might have landed on runways dad helped build. Interesting you noticed the smile. He did smile pretty much the same–I have the picture I took of him on his 85th birthday, and it is the same, with that gap between his teeth. The last video my sis sent me before he died, he was on his walker, dancing with Mother and the help of his caregiver, and he had that same smile–he was 93 then.

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  3. Beth says:

    Thanks for sharing! What a wonderful treat to have found the stored memorabilia and family stories; we had similar experiences when closing my parent’s home in 2009. I learned a lot from limited reading through some of the items. I’m grateful for all our Veterans who served our country, including my father!

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  4. socialbridge says:

    Such a loving, poignant post, Suz.

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  5. Geri Lawhon says:

    Thanks so much for telling us about your own family veterans. It means so much to other veterans when they hear that they are being remembered.

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