In honor of Veteran’s Day, I’m re-posting something I wrote back in April. Thank you, Daddy, for your service. Thank you to all Veterans.
My parents traveled with us to DC last week. Daddy is in his 80’s (sorry for throwing you under the bus, Daddy) and had been wanting to go for a long time. It was truly an honor to have them with us. You see, Daddy was in the Navy way back when, and served during the Korean War.
He didn’t talk much about his Navy time while I was growing up. It was always knowledge that was there, but he didn’t tell stories about his time serving, his time in the war. He knew all kinds of fun Japanese words he used to holler at us at will. We learned, in context, what many of them meant. It was part of my childhood, but not something I knew a lot about. As the grandkids have come along and gotten old enough to understand, Daddy has begun telling the stories of his days in the Navy, of being in that war, of being stationed in Japan for a good amount of time. He was even given a medal this past fall for his service in that war. It’s is awesome in the full sense of the word to hear him talk about that time, to see the looks on my children’s faces as they listen to him. I love those moments so much, and treasure them. Big Man in particular loves to hear about the airplanes Daddy was in.
So yes, it was amazing to have Daddy and Mom with us and take him to all the things he’s only seen on television. He had much the same look as my kids as we took in the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, (empty) Reflecting Pool, the Capitol, the Mall, the museums, the Pentagon, Arlington, and so on. He was happy, which made me so happy.
We went to the Korean War Memorial on Thursday. I’ve seen it before, but it felt it was the first time because Daddy was with us. Have you seen it? It’s somewhat eerie with the soldiers in full gear and packs walking through the ground cover, and the faces etched in the wall. The flags overhead snapped in the wind. The water pooled in the fountain behind us. Tears flowed down Daddy’s face. The kids seemed to know to remain quiet out of respect, and to stay by their Papa’s side. I won’t forget it, ever.
At least once a day, it came out that he had been in the Navy. Without exception, each time he told someone, the response was, “Thank you for your service, Sir.” I was so proud of my Daddy. He’s a veteran. He served our country. He deserves the honor accorded him by those people who thanked him. It’s just a side of him I didn’t really experience growing up, and never thought of much. But those words stuck with me.
I’m probably not explaining this well. I can’t fully describe the feeling of being in our nation’s capitol with my Daddy, who also happens to be a veteran. In the midst of all the things we did, all the things we saw, this one thing will always be one of the most memorable of the entire trip.
Thank you for your service, Daddy.