9

Birthday Remembrance for Dad

Today would have been my dad’s 100th birthday, so I thought I’d repost this piece from Veteran’s Day a year ago.

Happy Birthday, Daddy.  I miss you.

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Here are some photos of my dad from an earlier post I did on my family history.

I find this photo particularly poignant.  I managed to date it to Dec. 25, 1942 from the headline on the newspaper my Dad is reading.  He would be going into the Coast Guard soon to serve during WWII.  He had the opportunity to get a job at a factory that supplied the war effort and essentially sit out the war safely at home, but he wouldn't do it.  He didn't feel he could face his children if he didn't "do his part."  My Mother (on the right) is about 2 or 3 months pregnant with my older brother.  My Grandmother is on the left, lost in thought.  To me, this scene reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting.

I find this photo particularly poignant. I managed to date it to Dec. 25, 1942 from the headline on the newspaper my Dad is reading. He would be going into the Coast Guard soon to serve during WWII. He had the opportunity to get a job at a factory that supplied the war effort and essentially sit out the war safely at home, but he wouldn’t do it. He didn’t feel he could face his children if he didn’t “do his part.” My Mother (on the right) is about 2 or 3 months pregnant with my older brother. My Grandmother is on the left, lost in thought. To me, this scene reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting.

 

My mother found her own hunky dude in the form of my father, Jack, seen here on his Coast Guard ship during WWII.  His ancestors came to this country from the Alsace region of France, probably in the early 1700's.  (That region typically veered back and forth between the control of France and Germany until finally coming under French rule in recent times.)  My Dad's relative during the Revolutionary War provided meat to the troops, so we qualify for membership in the DAR for that "patriotic assistance."  They say an army travels on its stomach....

My mother found her own hunky dude in the form of my father, Jack, seen here on his Coast Guard ship during WWII. His ancestors came to this country from the Alsace region of France, probably in the early 1700’s. (That region typically veered back and forth between the control of France and Germany until finally coming under French rule in recent times.) My Dad’s relative during the Revolutionary War provided meat to the troops, so we qualify for membership in the DAR for that “patriotic assistance.” They say an army travels on its stomach….

 

Jack Coast Guard

When I was a kid, my Dad would let us play with the semaphore flags he had brought back from the war. Sometimes he would demonstrate how to send certain messages and occasionally, with a mischievous gleam in his eye, he would spell out words that we knew had to be “naughty,” but we didn’t know what they were. My mother would just say, “Oh, Jack!” and laugh along with us.

 

My parents' union was "blessed" first with the arrival of my brother, Tim, in 1943 and then with me in 1947.  Get a load of the noggin on that baby!

My parents’ union was “blessed” first with the arrival of my brother, Tim, in 1943 and then with me in 1947. Get a load of the noggin on that baby!

Dad passed away in 1998 at the age of 82.  His generation had to deal with the Great Depression and WWII.  They had a job to do and they stepped up and did it.  Many never returned to their families.  We were among the lucky ones.  Thanks, Dad.

3

For My Dad, On Veteran’s Day

Here are some photos of my dad from an earlier post I did on my family history.

I find this photo particularly poignant.  I managed to date it to Dec. 25, 1942 from the headline on the newspaper my Dad is reading.  He would be going into the Coast Guard soon to serve during WWII.  He had the opportunity to get a job at a factory that supplied the war effort and essentially sit out the war safely at home, but he wouldn't do it.  He didn't feel he could face his children if he didn't "do his part."  My Mother (on the right) is about 2 or 3 months pregnant with my older brother.  My Grandmother is on the left, lost in thought.  To me, this scene reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting.

I find this photo particularly poignant. I managed to date it to Dec. 25, 1942 from the headline on the newspaper my Dad is reading. He would be going into the Coast Guard soon to serve during WWII. He had the opportunity to get a job at a factory that supplied the war effort and essentially sit out the war safely at home, but he wouldn’t do it. He didn’t feel he could face his children if he didn’t “do his part.” My Mother (on the right) is about 2 or 3 months pregnant with my older brother. My Grandmother is on the left, lost in thought. To me, this scene reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting.

 

My mother found her own hunky dude in the form of my father, Jack, seen here on his Coast Guard ship during WWII.  His ancestors came to this country from the Alsace region of France, probably in the early 1700's.  (That region typically veered back and forth between the control of France and Germany until finally coming under French rule in recent times.)  My Dad's relative during the Revolutionary War provided meat to the troops, so we qualify for membership in the DAR for that "patriotic assistance."  They say an army travels on its stomach....

My mother found her own hunky dude in the form of my father, Jack, seen here on his Coast Guard ship during WWII. His ancestors came to this country from the Alsace region of France, probably in the early 1700’s. (That region typically veered back and forth between the control of France and Germany until finally coming under French rule in recent times.) My Dad’s relative during the Revolutionary War provided meat to the troops, so we qualify for membership in the DAR for that “patriotic assistance.” They say an army travels on its stomach….

 

Jack Coast Guard

When I was a kid, my Dad would let us play with the semaphore flags he had brought back from the war. Sometimes he would demonstrate how to send certain messages and occasionally, with a mischievous gleam in his eye, he would spell out words that we knew had to be “naughty,” but we didn’t know what they were. My mother would just say, “Oh, Jack!” and laugh along with us.

 

My parents' union was "blessed" first with the arrival of my brother, Tim, in 1943 and then with me in 1947.  Get a load of the noggin on that baby!

My parents’ union was “blessed” first with the arrival of my brother, Tim, in 1943 and then with me in 1947. Get a load of the noggin on that baby!

Dad passed away in 1998 at the age of 82.  His generation had to deal with the Great Depression and WWII.  They had a job to do and they stepped up and did it.  Many never returned to their families.  We were among the lucky ones.  Thanks, Dad.

2

Death Threat from a Vet

Here is the latest insanity from a Chuck Grassley led town hall meeting yesterday:

“The president of the United States, that’s who you should be concerned about.  Because he’s acting like a little Hitler,” said Tom Eisenhower, a World War II veteran.   “I’d take a gun to Washington if enough of you would go with me.”

My Dad, rest his soul, was a World War II veteran.  In December of 1942 he was a 27 year-old married man who would, in a few months, become a father.  He was told if he got a job at a certain defense plant he could sit out the war, enabling him to be at home with my Mother and her soon-to-be born child. 

But he wouldn’t do that.  He told my Mother he didn’t think he could face his children if he didn’t step up and do his part for the war effort. 

So he enlisted in the Coast Guard and became a signalman.  Eventually he was sent on a ship to the South Pacific where he spent the rest of the war and then, thankfully, came home to my Mother and his now two year-old son. 

It was a difficult adjustment.  It took some time for him and my brother to become acquainted, and for my brother to learn how to “share” my Mother with him.  But my Dad didn’t complain.  He wouldn’t have had to do this if he’d taken the “easy way” out.  But he didn’t.

As I read those words above by Mr. Eisenhower (how ironic!), I am filled with shame and anger. 

I’m sure Mr. Eisenhower knew the magnitude of the Nazi threat and all that it stood for.  Perhaps he enlisted in the war for the same reasons my father did—because he felt it was the only thing he could do and still be able to look his children in the eyes when it was all over. 

Now he is sullying what my Dad and countless others fought against by cavalierly tossing about the comparison of Obama to Hitler, as many seem to be doing these days with no objections from the Republican leaders who stand there listening with mute tongues and cold, leaden eyes.  They feel this kind of talk will “gin up” the base and that’s alright with them. 

The more right-wing flamethrowers, the better.

Not only is this kind of rhetoric ridiculous and demeaning to the Greatest Generation, but it is also inflammatory and downright seditious.  How can people–especially veterans who have fought against the real Hitler and should know better–be allowed to make such statements against the safety of the President of the United States and the stability of our country? 

Didn’t he live through the agony that was the JFK assassination? 

I did, and the memory is forever scorched into my brain. 

Perhaps Mr. Eisenhower wasn’t paying attention in 1963 to the painful turmoil that trauma caused our country, and the subsequent stripping of innocence from the young people who believed in “Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.” 

Now this “veteran” is calling for the same violence to be enacted upon yet another president. 

I’m sure if Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford were still alive they would be appalled at the threats being shouted against this president.  Both of them suffered through assassination attempts, and with Reagan it was almost accomplished.  The specter of assassination has again raised its ugly head. 

Before long, Mr. Eisenhower himself will die, and when he arrives at the Pearly Gates I hope he’ll be met by a throng of WWII veterans who are just as ashamed of him as I know my Dad is.

jack2