Thursday, March 17, 2011

From Sea to Shining Sea

I really don't know, but I think so, that my father actually did go out on a big boat of some kind when he was in the Navy.  My parents grew up in the same town, Waco, Texas, went to the same school, and lived on the same street.  They knew each other a long time before they ever started dating.  My mother was a couple of years younger than my dad.  My dad was the middle child of three boys; three typical troublemaking, mischievous boys.  If I were guessing, I suspect that when they started dating my grandparents said "oh my word, not that rowdy boy!"  In the end though I know my grandparents were saying "thank you Lord for blessing our daughter with a God fearing, loving husband to our daughter and father to our granddaughters".  That I know for sure.
Anyway, my parents started dating sometime in high school.  I'm sure there were rules about dating and curfews and double dates.  Both my parents had lots of friends so double dating was a frequent occurrence.  So out of high school, even though he and my mother were "an item", my dad enlisted to keep from being drafted, he and a bunch of his friends.  He joined the Navy.  While I don't know a lot about his time in the Navy (a regret I have that I never asked him), I know he was a Pharmacist's Mate First Class and was stationed in Nouméa, New Caledonia at the USN Mobile Hospital #5.  I know this because my brother in law recently researched it.  During World War II, Nouméa served as the headquarters of the United States military in the South Pacific. New Caledonia is an island in the South Pacific 2080 miles west of Australia .  Nouméa is 7395 miles from Waco.  It actually looks like a beautiful tropical island.  I don't know how long he was there.  I never bothered to ask him where he was, what he did, how long he was gone.  I never bothered.  I wish he were here now for me to ask him.  Oh, my there is so much I want to ask him.  He and my mother wrote endless letters to one another.  They were truly in love.  My father eventually returned home and he and my mother were married.  They both attended Baylor University.  Even though times were tough and money was tight, they both managed to obtain college degrees.
Recently, the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo held a special military honors day for all military personnel.  They were served lunch and free entry into the rodeo grounds as well as tickets to the rodeo.  My family donated to this event in my father's honor.  His photo was displayed on a display board for the current active military men and women and their families who were there, to see.  I saw it too.  It made me very proud. It made me cry. It makes me very sad that I never asked him about his service, that I never really honored him for it.  They played taps at his funeral.  They gave my sister and me the flag that draped his coffin.  The Naval officers thanked us for his service and expressed sympathy for our loss.
Daddy I always honored you as my father, today I also honor you as a man of service to his country, a man who believed in freedom, a man who served his country, a man of honor.

Encourage One Another

No comments:

Post a Comment