|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?