Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans' Day

Veterans' Day is one of the most emotional holidays for me.  Perhaps for many.  Having a career in education, I have been involved in our high school's Veterans' Day programs that were truly moving tributes and a show of heartfelt gratitude for vets from every branch of service.  In preparing for programs, I learned so much more about various aspects of the wars our boys and men have fought, and with that knowledge, my gratitude has become more profound.  My trips to Washington D.C. and visits to the war memorials were sobering. 

Today, I'll post a bit about my dad, who served in WWII.  He had already established a grocery business before war broke out.  But, he was called to duty, and he left his store in the hands of one of his sisters, one of his brothers, and a very good clerk who had worked for him for a few years.  He would have been older than many soldiers, and I know that it must have been difficult to leave, not knowing if he'd ever come back. 

He joined the Navy and served most of his time in the South Pacific.  He talked about being on a "tin can," working as a store-keeper on the ship (although I'm probably not using the correct term).  He told very few stories of his time in the service.  However, he did share that one time when he was on deck, he was too near one of the big guns that fired, and it affected his hearing from that point on.

He brought home some very pretty shells which he must have picked up on a beach somewhere; I remember him showing his collection with pleasure, and his blue eyes would light up, but no stories for kids came with it.  I was in awe when he showed us his navy uniforms; he certainly was a skinny guy at the time!

I think the whole experience was very unsettling for him, and he was relieved to be in safe waters or back on land.  It was at a USO dance that he met my mom; so I guess I'm pretty glad they found each other on a dance floor, jitterbugging to some live Big Band music in Madison, WI.

He made it home, took back the grocery store, and continued to build the business, which provided well for his family. 


  1. I think the quietest Vets must have seen such horror....I thank them all for their service

  2. Ahhh... so similar to my own thoughts on the day. My father, my uncles, my father inlaw, my husband's beloved grandfather... and several friends and/or their spouses all fought for the freedom so many take for granted!

  3. When our choir visited Auschwitz, everyone of us were reminded of the horrors of WWII in a very graphic way. We sang an arrangement of PS. 23, standing on the railroad tracks, and there wasn't a dry eye among us. Blessings on all those who served in Europe and elsewhere, then and now.

  4. it must have been very difficult for soldiers and families to be separated during WW2 with only V-Mail and telegrams for communication, and very rarely a phone call.

    Your Dad was a wonderful and kind man. I'm glad I knew him.

  5. My dad didn't talk much about his time in the Army either. He was deployed in Germany and France. Doing some research I found that during his time with the 8th Infantry they helped liberate one of the concentration camps enlisting the local people to bury the many dead.

    I can imagine just why he wouldn't want to relive those memories. It may be the same with your dad.

    I did note one thing ... my dad was always extremely loyal to his two hometown friends that went through the service with him. I think they had an understanding of each other that friends later in life, did not have.

    Thanks to your dad and mine for helping build the safe country that we love.