Well, it was really cool watching the excitement my dad had when he discovered an old buddy from his regiment living about 45 minutes from his home. Between the two of them, they pulled together quite a collection of items from their service years in the 1950’s. They had been stationed together in Japan during the occupation, and were both held over to serve a second term when the Korean Conflict began. Dad was only 2 weeks from his discharge when he was ‘frozen’ for another three and a half years. He served seven years in all.
The two of them had a lot of fun remembering and reminding one another of the things they had forgotten, but that came out when they were together.
As my dad had gotten older, his mention of his years and events in the army had become more frequent. You could see the pride he had for his service.
My dad was always one to go over board reminding someone about anything. He had told us all several times there would be no need to get a tombstone or grave marker. He wanted the marker the army would supply at his death. It was another point of pride for him.
I spent some time repairing old photos he had in Photo Shop and pulling what information was still available about old ships and places from the internet. He had even pulled out his old uniform and worn it on several occasions. We thought it a bit quaint, or even silly. But dad sure didn’t. He put on his uniform, and wore it with all the dignity and spit-n-shine of his active duty years in the 50’s.
Well, dad died a couple of months ago. It was sudden, but dad had lived a good full life. He was a great dad. Now it is time for his tribute.
But, it seems there will be no tribute for dad from the army. No. I just talked to mom this morning for Mother’s Day. She told me the Veteran’s had refused the grave marker.
I sure am glad dad didn’t see this. His pride went with him. We will remember his service, even if his country will not.
The world has changed a lot since American blood was shed in Korea. Now, the Korea they died for is even in jeopardy.
But know this: Fifty years ago, your brothers died for freedom on fields in Korea. My dad was with them. He was proud to do his duty. He served his country.
May this tribute stand for him where his country fails to remember.
So be it.