Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Warrior Dad

I found myself at work talking to a co-worker and my father came up in conversation.  My Dad has been dead for sixteen years.  He was a military man having spent 25+ years in the Army.

I told my co-worker that my Dad volunteered to serve in the Army during World War 2.  He was married and had two sons another had been born and died at birth.  Dad went to war and when he came back his wife felt he had changed so much that she wanted a divorce.  So they ended up divorced and his son's of course stayed with their Mom.  The older son remembered his Dad and kept in contact with him to some degree through the years.  The younger son didn't remember his Dad too much and relied on what his mother said about him and so didn't have any contact with Dad until my Mom invited him to come to my Dad's 70th birthday many years later and he came.  He said he probably wouldn't have come except his own son wanted to come to meet his grandfather for the first time. 

My Dad told me the story that he was so disgusted with the Army that when WWII was over and he got out of the military that he used his uniform to wipe his feet on on the back porch of the house.  Dad worked as an ice man providing ice for people's "ice box" after the war.  He went back into the military to go to the Korean conflict and then stayed in after that.  He met my Mom and married her with her three children.  Then they had me. 

When Vietnam came around Dad volunteered to go to war for the third time because he was a true believer in America.  At that point in his military career he didn't have to go but wanted to go.  I turned 8 while he was gone and in our religion that is a big time.  Because my Dad was gone my older brother baptized me a member of the church and Brother Lewis confirmed me.  (For those who might remember this is the Brother Lewis who lined up a second time to kiss my wife after we were married!) 

In years to come my Dad would talk about the war occasionally but was most comfortable talking to other veteran's.  Other than being polite he often didn't have deep or long conversations with other people.  When my Mom would have a party at the house (she loves people and having visitors) he would often spend most of the time in his room...unless there was a veteran there in which case he would get in a deep conversation about war and the military. 

When the first Gulf War happened and he was an elderly fellow and couldn't get around well but I remember him getting agitated and standing up and saying very animatedly that if they would take him he would go and fight that war too! 

My Mom always calls him a warrior and I would have to agree.  He felt very strongly about supporting the government's decisions in matters of war.  No complaining, second guessing but just ready to line up and do the hard work that had to be done because in his view that is what kept our country free.  Maybe he was right and the way we think now (soldiers purposely hurting themselves to get out of Afghanistan, killing themselves to keep from going, going AWOL to avoid it and generally not being willing to do the hard work needed in a war.) 

In comparison with my Dad it appears our country has lost something important in it's people as a whole and it may be that what we are missing today is something vital to maintain our freedom.  Where do we go from here?  Or maybe the better question, Where will we go from here.  How can our young men learn patriotic duty from fathers who themselves don't have the devotion needed in something bigger than themselves to sacrifice at war? 

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