Many of us have a certain feeling about Memorial Day because of pride, loss, worry, or many other emotions the day evokes. This weekend I’m remembering a true American hero who just happened to be my dad. In WWII he was a fighter pilot flying the B26 and was shot down in action. He stayed with the plane until all crew were out then he parachuted out before the crash while flames were engulfing the aircraft. He was in a prison camp in Germany for thirteen months until the Russians liberated the camp at the close of the war. Interestingly, this isn’t what made him a hero. He returned home to Trinidad, Colorado and immediately connected with the girl of his dreams whom he had met while in pilot training in Texas. They were married and had my three siblings; then saving the best for last, I came along. This isn’t the hero part, either. He was an engineer then a plant manager, then a Vice President for the Monsanto Company during his career. He was a well respected professional honored at his retirement for service above and beyond. I remember going to this party and a woman who worked near his office told me that she was sorry to see the last true gentleman leaving the company. Not even close to why this man was a true hero yet. He lived to age 88 and passed away in December. He told me once that he had been blessed with the opportunities and health to travel and do all the things he really wanted to do in his life. Memorial Day always made me think of him in past years because of his brave service to his country, but now I remember things like how he used to get down on the floor and play with us all, or let us all splash him to near death in the swimming pool. What really made this man a true American hero was his ability to just be Daddy. Each of the four of us kids think we were the favorite. Each of us has a special place in our hearts for this amazing, larger than life hero. He always made me feel safe, secure and loved, and will always be the first to come to mind on future Memorial Days along with all the current men and women serving this country and all those in the past we have lost. God bless America.
Memories on Memorial Day
May 30, 2010