My dad. 1960.
My father was a U.S. Marine Corp veteran (he enlisted) of the Vietnam War who came home and worked grueling 16 hour days in a factory for a pittance. He eventually endured a horrible accident in the factory in which his right hand was crushed & shredded. He lost his ring finger and most of his pinky.
He suffered seven surgeries, skin grafts, having his hand sewn into his chest, etc.
Years later he would shatter his spine in another job. Miraculously, he was not paralyzed although he was permanently disabled and in pain the rest of his life.
On his bicep he had an olive greenish skull & crossbones tattoo with the initials U.S.M.C. under it and when I was little he told me that it meant “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children.” I believed him.
He told me some stories of being in the Marines, but was silent about much of it. I know he was in Laos. I know that when he fell asleep on the couch I wasn’t supposed to sneak up to him or be close to wake him.
“Stand in the doorway and say his name.” My mother told me.
This veteran taught me how to make a whistle out of a straw, picked me up from class with sandwiches ready, took us on mini vacations, always had time to get ice cream or malts…
So, I could write observations about my dad for a long time, but these are the type of memories I have today – however random they may be. I am leaving out bits others deem as most important about him on purpose. I will write about that another time.
This is the first Memorial Day I will be unable to visit his grave. I know he wouldn’t care, but it bothers me.
Thanks Dad. I love you. Always.
Thank you to all of our Military, current and past.