Monday, May 25, 2009

Thoughts on Memorial Day

A non-writing related post.

My father fought in the Navy during the second world war. He enlisted right out of high school and was trained as a sonar operator on an ocean going tugboat. While my father never talked in detail about his wartime experiences, there were some stories I grew up hearing.

One was of my dad's role in the capture and recovery of the U-505.

His ship, the USS Abnaki, was responsible for helping to salvage the sinking sub and towing it to Bermuda.

The Abnaki also was responsible for towing barges of equipment across the Atlantic, dodging German subs to do so.

I can only imagine what it was like for him, at 18, to go to war in defense of his country.

At 86, he is still a vital, intelligent man, a remnant of a generation who deferred their lives and dreams to get the job done. As the mother of 2 teenage boys, I pray they will never have to see combat, I pray that all who serve will make it home safely and that we, as a species, will learn how to live together.

On this Memorial Day, I hold both the highest admiration and regard for the men and women who serve and pray I live to see a day when that service will not be needed.


  1. Thanks for sharing that.

    My dad, too, enlisted in the Navy for WWII, but unlike his brothers, he wasn't quite old enough -- so his dad went down to the recruiting office and said, "Oh, yeah, he's old enough." Dad never told us any stories of what he did in the war, only about how he enlisted. (And I've seen copies of the enlistment and honorable discharge papers, so I know that's true.) I wish I could have learned more.

  2. The other story that my dad tells is of sailing through a storm so bad that they ran out of food and ended up eating maple syrup out of number 10 (the huge one!) cans. To this day, he can't stand the smell of maple syrup, because it reminds him of being seasick, cold, and hungry.

    Was your dad in the Atlantic or Pacific?

  3. He enlisted in L.A., but I get the feeling he never got off American soil.

    He told me once about some training thing they were doing, swimming in the ocean. When they got back to the beach, the Red Cross was there with coffee -- which they charged for. My dad never gave them a cent his whole life because of that.

  4. Wow--that reminds me of something my dad once told me about the red cross being at the train station when he was discharged and charging all the military folks for coffee.

    He also never gave them a cent his whole life because of that.

    I had forgotten that until I read your comment.