Tuesday, November 18, 2008
He's My Daddy!
One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my Daddy's shoulders, on the sidewalk of 483 Bay Street, in Taunton, Massachusetts watching a parade. After the Boy Scouts , a group of Army men marched proudly, followed by a convertable carrying a bald man with a huge grin. All the men on the side walk began cheering and throwing their hats in the air. Mommy said it was Ike- Daddy's General.
I didn't know what that meant but at the very moment the car stopped, waiting for those in front to round a curve. Mr. Ike looked over at us and Daddy saluted him. I didn't know what that was all about either but I copied Daddy and saluted the General too, as only a three year old could. Mr. Ike looked right back at my father and waved to him.
(In an odd twist of fate, ten or so years later, while we lived in Levittown, PA, Dad was holding my little sister on his shoulders when another friend of his came to town. Years before, he and Mom had known this man in Massachusetts. Again, a man with a big smile waved at my Dad and then he gave Scrabblebuff a bouquet of flowers that had been presented to him. Shortly after, Jack Kennedy became our President. )
Dad had served during WWII and was proud of his service. He wasn't one to talk about it like some of my friends' fathers. Some never tired of telling us how brave they were and about the thrilling times they had overseas. Dad just told us about going to Lourdes and Fatima and about how nice the ladies were who put on canteens for the G.I.s.
I never really heard him talk about the horrors of war, until my brothers served in Vietnam and in the Mediterranean. As we sat there watching the newscasts on TV, he would strain to catch a possible glimpse of Denis or Terry but he never did. I know he cried when word came to us that Denis had been wounded. When we found out several days later that he'd actually broken his thumb,
he cried again.
For several years, Dad quietly honored his sons, and the men and women who had served with them in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, by taking part in the American Legion.
A couple of years ago, a group of young men and women returned home to his small town in New Mexico. Dad and one other WWII Veteran marched in the celebration parade to welcome them back from Iraq.
That's Dad, wearing his back brace under the jacket, paying honor to his fellow soldiers.
And that's also Dad, on my son's bike last May, just before the wedding. He decided that, although it had been only 60 years since he'd ridden a bike, and despite how cool it might be to do it again, he'd take a pass.
I have always been proud of my Daddy.
See ya down the road,