Memorial Weekend and Memories

Here it is Saturday, May 24th. Memorial Weekend is well underway. Based on traffic in my gallery it appears that rising gas prices have not diswayed everyone from traveling...Thank God!

A quiet spell has come to the gallery, and I decided to post. This Memorial Weekend, I'm remembering my Dad. He passed away in March 2007. I was young, 6 and 7 or so, when we were stationed in Okinawa, my Dad doing rotating tours in Viet Nam. Thirty days home, 90 in Nam. The last time he came home would be the last tour there, yellowed from Hepatitis and 96 pounds from Malaria. He did recover..more or less. Many more years of duty passed, and in 1982 (I think) he retired, a CW3 and we came home to New Mexico. We moved 19 times in 21 years. He gave his best. When he retired he went to work for Sandia National Labs, and made three times what he'd made as a Chief Warrant Officer 3 when he retired. He worked there doing more or less the same thing he had done for the Army. He was a Standards Engineer. The guy who proved that if a piece of equipment was supposed to analyze to the enth degree, that it, in fact did. When he was in the Army, there were so few people with his specialty that we traveled all over the world with him.

That's all I know about what my Dad did. He never talked about it. He never talked about Viet Nam either. He never talked about my Mother, his first wife. He kept everything to himself. My relationship with my Dad was tumultuous...but you know what? I miss him. I miss the goofy way he'd grin when he made another infuriating pun. I miss the way he could regale an audience with fantastic stories...we'll never know if they were true or not. I miss the enormous model train extravaganza he had built in his basement, with mountains, rivers, towns and businesses that the track wound around. He spent hours and hour and hours and hours building it....after he dug the basement under the house...with a shovel and a bucket. I kid you not!

People tell me I'm alot like him. I used to hate that, because I thought it meant I had all of his bad habits. Now I see that I am alot like him...and I hope to God that the best in him shines through me. I miss you, Dad. Thanks for your lifetime of Service to this Country.

And, thank you, to all of the men and women of the Armed Services, past and present. Thank you to those who sacrificed their youth, and those who gave their lives for the sake of us who still call ourselves Americans. Few of us have counted the cost of freedom the way you have, and I am grateful. My Dad gave the Army the best of his youth. He was in good company then, and I know he's in good company now.

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