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Monday, May 30, 2011

A Memorial Day tribute to my father

“When they [the American soldiers] came, they found fit comrades for their courage and their devotion.... Joining hands with them, the men of America gave the greatest of all gifts, the gift of life and the gift of spirit.” ~Woodrow Wilson

Memorial Day is a time I think of my father. He served in the army for about four years during World War II. He was stationed in England, Italy, and Northern Africa. He served as a radio operator, sometimes for generals, other times in tanks during gruesome battles. He didn’t talk much about his wartime experiences, so I have few tales to share. Most in his company of nearly one hundred were not lucky enough to come home. Only a couple survived. After what he’d seen, he maintained an unyielding focus of appreciating life, grateful he survived to come home. He held so tightly to that ideal, he left it as an indelible mark on my outlook, for which I am always grateful.

Dad was a veteran and lived a long life after an honorable discharge, dying at age 79. But he also gave his life for his country. He was shipped stateside after suffering with a reaction following exposure to a war toxin. It drastically inhibited his ability to make red blood cells. He arrived home from the army hospital weighing just under 100 pounds, at a height of five-foot five…hide and bones. He suffered with severe anemia the rest of his adult life, and eventually the damages to his bone marrow turned cancerous.

Life is precious…thank you, Dad.



Lin said...

Heroes...we are blessed by the sacrifices they made and the world they made into a better place. Thank you Marsha for letting us meet your Dad.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thank you, Lin. It was a bittersweet post to write, teary and happy at the same time.

Alexis Morgan said...

I lost my father last year at the age of 91. He and both of his brother, as well as my father-in-law, all served in World War II. None of them talked about it much, but it was clear the experience profoundly affected their lives.

Thanks for sharing your father's amazing outlook on life with all of us.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thanks, Alexis. We can only imagine a tiny portion of what they endured, so horrible the only way forward was to honor the good in life.

PamelaTurner said...

Thank you for sharing this. Sometimes when I'm on base, I look around at the soldiers there and wonder what will happen to them.

I remember taping an interview with a WWII veteran who served under General Patton. So glad I got to hear his story before he passed away.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for what your dad went through, Marsha. But at least he got to come home, and have a good life, and you. We don't thank them often enough for their time. Shame. I'm sure he had some great stories, even if he didn't share. I'm glad for the ones that do. Either way, your dad sounded like a great guy and what a treasure to have a hero in the family.

Alyssa Ast said...

Wonderful tribute to your father. I am so thankful for what all military has done for us! Happy Memorial Day to all veterans

Marsha A. Moore said...

Pam, there are very few WWII vets still with us. I miss them and their silent strength.

Harshadpassion - I do treasure having a hero in the family. I'll always be my daddy's girl.

Alyssa, thank you for your kind thoughts.