Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day and thoughts on my father


My father in uniform, probably on leave at his home.

I think of my father on Memorial Day.
Actually, I think of my late father probably every day, but my thoughts of him are particularly strong on this day that we in the United States honor those who sacrificed their lives for their country.
My father served in the Army as a medic during World War II, mostly in the Pacific. He was wounded on September 30, 1944, but survived and came home and built a life with my mother.


My father somewhere in the Pacific on Aug. 21, 1945.

It was on Memorial Day 1996 that my father first expressed to me his thankfulness for having made it home when many of his fellow soldiers did not.
That gratefulness fit with the rest of his life: he never bemoaned growing older, never complained about an upcoming birthday. He was always proud of his age.
I was not very close to my father when I was growing up. We grew more comfortable with each other during the last few years of his life, before he died in July 1997.
He wrote down his life story at my request. And after his death, letters that he had written to one of his sisters while he was in service came to light.


A postcard my father sent his sister in 1942.

These written documents have helped me to know more about my father than I learned while he was alive.
Years ago I scanned the letters and gave copies to my brothers and my mother. I want to go back and catalog them better.
I also want to transcribe his whole story (I’ve done only part of it) and distribute those to family members, too.
I know there are still things to learn about my father and my family as I delve deeper into his writings.
That is not an always easy task for me, though. I had and have a troubled relationship with my family of origin. Some memories are painful.
But I don’t want that to hold me back from the truth, from the story of my father, and through his story, part of the story of my family.
It will be a project worth doing.
With that, I leave you today with wishes for a safe and peaceful holiday.

How have you preserved family memories and mementoes?

24 comments:

  1. That sounds like a rewarding project. Good for you.

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. I think it will be rewarding.

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  2. I love projects like this! I am big into genealogy and I have done a lot of work through the years. I *need* to transcribe a recording of my grandfather (my Dad's father) whom I never met. The farthest I've gotten at this point is that I had the recording transferred to CD so it's easier to work with.

    Through the years I've done little small projects here and there like scanning in old pictures, getting 8mm and 16mm old family movies from my grandparents transferred to CD etc.

    I love that you are working on this project. Perhaps it will help you work through some of your feelings about your father? I know what it is to have a difficult relationship with a father-- actually I have no relationship with mine. Anyway, best wishes to you in this noble work!

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. You have so much more knowledge about doing these types of projects than I do. I may be calling on your expertise! :-)

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  3. bless him for living in gratitude for what he could do and others didn't get the chance. it really is a perspective we all need more of.

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    1. Thank you, Theresa. I think it's an admirable way of looking at life, too. He was a very unpretentious man, and that's something I admire, too.

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  4. Delving in the past can be painful. I hope your journey brings you new warmth in your knowledge of your father.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. I think this project will ultimately be a good one. I feel like if I don't help tell his story, I will dishonor his efforts to tell it.

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  5. I think you are on a courageous quest - I think you bring a lot of grace and understanding to your parents' stories.

    My dad's mother is writing down her memories for us - I can't wait to read them.

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    1. Thank you, Anna, I appreciate your comment. That's exciting that you will have family memories written down, too!

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  6. What a beautiful post, Tina. Lovely photos, too. As for myself, my father became a prisoner of war in WWII. I think of him daily, as do you, and especially on Remembrance Day, which for us in Canada is November 11th. Thank you so much for sharing this heartfelt post!

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    1. Thank you, Linda, for sharing your story, too. In the U.S. November 11 is celebrated as Veterans Day, another day I particularly remember my dad.

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  7. This is a beautiful post. Recently I have been transcribing poems that my Father wrote, hoping to have them printed for my family (cousins for I was an only child) it is true what you say, we do learn from their own words more about who they were...I admire your courage and generousity in sharing...I'm 63 and new facts seem to slide in from nowhere giving my Dad another dimensions, do have fun with your project! My Father was in WW2 as well.

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. That is a wonderful thing, to have poems that your father wrote. I agree--we learn new dimensions about our parents from different sources.

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  8. what a beautiful entry tina!! our family doesn't have a lot of pictures from back in the day. i am a memory keeper. i record everything with my camera, i scrapbook and blog. i print my blog in 6 month increments, being sure that every wonderful moment is recorded with words and images!!

    your dad sounds like a wonderful man!!

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    1. Thank you, Debbie. That is wonderful, the way that you keep memories. You'll have beautiful documents and photos to look back at and remember.

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  9. The older I get, the more my family history means to me. My father wrote some of his story down before he passed away a few years ago, but there are so many missing pieces. I wish I had paid closer attention to his stories when I was younger.

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    1. Thanks, Janet. There are stories that I wish I had paid closer attention to, also. When we're younger, we don't always realize the importance of those stories.

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  10. This is sweet, Tina. I believe you'll do it too. Your father sounds like a great man, even though you weren't close growing up. I think it was, in large part, the times. Dads weren't as engaging with their kids as they are now. I'm glad you were able to share time with your dad before his passing. It's true that when we're younger we don't think much about how important those stories are. With age comes wisdom. Have a great week.

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    1. Thank you, Grace. I think times are different now, too. I hope with age comes wisdom--I'm counting on it! :-)

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  11. What a wonderful post. Thank you for being so open about your own journey - and, for giving me a look at a good man.

    I am always impressed by stories of people of greatness . . Not Famous - but of people who do a good job of living their life.

    My parents were performing artists. A lot of people keep files and mementos of them. I'm a living expression of them - which is cool, at times - and hurtful, at times - because - similar to you - I didn't have the opportunity to be close with them . . .

    Thank you again & again -
    -g-

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    1. Thank you, G, for your kind comment and for sharing your story.

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  12. May God bless you as you go about delving into your history. Sometimes it's not what you wish it to be but it is who we are. Latane

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    1. Thank you, Latane. You put it very well--it is who we are.

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