Memorial Day is upon us and I would like to take this time to honor my personal hero–my father.
My family has never been what I would call a very military family. I had no brothers or even cousins who served. My only immediate connection to military service was through my father and his brothers who served in WWII–one uncle was in the Navy, one uncle (who I never knew) was killed in Italy, and my father served in the Army Air Corps.
I grew up hearing stories about my father’s service because he was very proud to have served his country for four years. He joined the Air Corps, despite a fear of flying–he worked in airplanes, around airplanes, under airplanes, but he never had to fly in one. For which I am sure he was eternally grateful.
He was a corporal at Columbus Air Field for a time and ended up as an MP in charge of transporting prisoners across the country. When he told me this, I couldn’t figure out how Germans got to Georgia and he just laughed and said no, they were for the most part Americans who had gone AWOL and he would have to take them from one base to another. Fortunately, as much as he hated flying in airplanes, he loved traveling by train. Transporting prisoners took him on trains across the country several times. Sometimes he even managed to make a trip that took him close enough to home to enable him to visit his family. A perk he took advantage of whenever he could.
My father never fired a weapon, never set foot on foreign soil, never stormed a hill or faced a tank. But he served, quietly, proudly. I still have his Honorable Discharge papers. And when he passed away, the most touching moment of the graveside service was my husband playing Taps and the two color guards handing me the folded American Flag that had draped his coffin. It now sits proudly, in a triangular cherry case, atop my china cabinet, as if my father is still watching over his family.
Celebrate Memorial Day in memory of all who serve–whether visibly or quietly–with a heartfelt thank you for a job well done.