Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

by Annette Dashofy

This is a wistful week for me. My dad has been on my mind quite a bit. For one thing, today is Veteran’s Day. Dad was an MP in World War II. I don’t know very much about his time in the Army because he never wanted to talk about it. Never wanted to watch war movies. Never wanted to be reminded of that time in his life. In fact, the only time I recall him speaking of it was in hushed tones with my cousin who had served in Vietnam. And then, it was only when the two of them were off in a corner somewhere, alone. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when we were dealing with getting his affairs in order that we discovered he’d been awarded the Bronze Star.

Last week, after the horror at Fort Hood, my mom informed me that Dad had been stationed there for his basic training. Somehow, that news made a dark day feel even darker.

And to further add to my melancholy, this Friday the 13th would have been my dad’s ninetieth birthday. He passed away almost three years ago after being ravaged by Alzheimer’s and ultimately succumbing to pneumonia.

So take a moment today to say thank you to a veteran. Each one is someone’s father, mother, sister, brother, son, or daughter. And each one has a story, whether they want to tell it or not.

Thanks, Dad.


Gina said...

My father was a World War II veteran, too, a medic in the South Pacific. He didn't talk about it a lot, either. I know he was stationed in Australia. And that he refused to watch MASH because it was unrealistic - it made it look as if the doctors knew what they were doing. He died about 15 years ago, at the age of 79, in the hospital for the first time since he'd contracted schitzosomiasis in the service and been sent home. He'd been gone for four years, and his family didn't know to expect him, but his old dog met him at the bus stop.

Annette said...

Can't fool those old dogs, can you? Sweet story, Gina.

PatRemick said...

Lovely tribute to your father and every veteran. Beautifully done, Annette. Thank you.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Thanks, Annette.

My Father landed at Normandy. He served under George Patton and made his way across France laying communication wire.

I wish I had a day to talk to him about it. He died before I fully appreciated what he did.

Dana King said...

The more a veteran saw, the less likely he is to talk about it. In my experience, the old men telling glorious war stories are telling someone else's.

Annette said...

Thanks, Pat.

Will, I'd just like another day with my dad to talk about anything. Preferably without the fog of Alzheimer's that claimed his mind long before the pneumonia claimed the rest of him.

Dana, I think you make a very good point. The one subject Dad DID talk about, though, was the food. He refused to ever eat rice again and you can well imagine his comments about the creamed beef on toast thing they served.

ramona said...

What a touching tribute to your father, Annette. How sad that so many soldiers felt they had to keep those war experiences bottled up.

My dad was also stationed at Fort Hood, in the early 50s. He and my mom have some funny stories about their days as newlyweds, living in Killeen.

Creamed beef on toast? Ew.

Annette said...

Thanks, Ramona. And Dad had a slightly more colorful name for that particular menu item.

Joyce said...

Nice post, Annette.

My dad died when I was 2, so I'd definitely like some more time with him.

Dad was in the 3rd Armored division, so he was in the thick of things in Europe. He was wounded in France shortly after the Normandy invasion (shot in a rather delicate area which we won't mention) but went back into battle two months later. From what I've been told, one of the things he couldn't talk about was the liberation of one of the concentration camps.

Mom used to call creamed beef on toast "shit on a shingle."

Annette said...

Yep, Joyce. THAT is the more colorful name Dad had for it, too.