Veteran’s Day

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This is my daddy. He served with the US Coast Guard in the South Pacific during World War II. I had not yet been born, so I don’t remember him from that time. But I do know that as a young man, he had played piano in the Brass Rail in Tampa, FL where he was from. My mother tells me that he was a fun loving young man when she met him and until they told her that he had been shipped out, but could not tell her where. She was pregnant and alone in the Sheepshead Bay area of New York City. She eventually learned that they had sent him to California and shipped him out from there. By the time he got home, his first born, my older sister, was nine months old. When he came home, he was not the same fun loving man who had left. His hands shook so badly he could barely hold a coffee cup. I am sure he suffered from what is now known as PTSD. He never talked about the war. I think it was too painful for him. It was not until a few years before his death at age 88 that we finally learned a few particulars. Daddy was a signalman on the ship. He stood at the bow of the ship displaying signal flags by hand while bullets flew all around him. He watched his best friend die beside him. He saw a Kamakazi pilot fly so close to him that he could see the pilot smile at him and salute before the plane plowed into another ship. Within the first year after the war, daddy saw his only brother die of cancer and his only son die of SIDS. In his years of marriage, he fathered six daughters. Daddy was the only veteran with whom I had close relationship. I know you have had a relationship with a veteran – your daddy, your mom, your brother, your sister, your husband, your wife. Tomorrow, Saturday, November 11, is Veterans Day. Honor them.

 

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