Thursday, November 11

Honoring My Heroes

Today is Veteran's Day....  a day to set aside and honor those Veterans who have served our country... past present and future. I think it's one of those "holidays" we don't really think about or appreciate enough. For most it's just a day off work or school. And unfortunately I was one of those for years.

Jerry was in the Navy. I didn't know him then...  He enlisted in the Reserves in the late '60s ... went to Boot Camp here in San Diego and then  he was assigned to a Destroyer, the USS Shelton. He made several tours to Vietnam. We don't talk about it much. I mostly hear stories of how black the sea is at night; how you can't even walk or stand up straight when the waters are rough... actually even when they're not... how he didn't know the meaning of sea-sick until then... and that there's no way to avoid it.  He saw a lot of lives taken,  a lot of misery and a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. That much I do know. I'm so very proud of him that he served his country. It was a different time then now... not sure kids today can really comprehend it... not sure if I even comprehend it...... think it's one of those things you can't begin to imagine unless you walk in those shoes.

But today the story isn't just about Jerry.. it's about all our Veterans and those who have served to protect our country and give us freedom. Too bad it takes losing someone you love to really understand that and remember them even more... We've all been there I know... so of course today I've also been thinking a lot about my dad. He died in 2004 at age 82, and I miss him more than I can express.

He was born in 1921... and here's a picture of him Darrell (on the left) with his little brother Harlo (on the right). He was born in Taft, California and grew up in Lawndale during the Depression.

He served 20 years in the Navy during World War II. He joined the Navy in 1938 when he was 17.years old  He was stationed on the USS Canberra and also the USS Maryland as Apprentice Seaman and accelerated through the ranks to  Chief  Fire Control Technician.

He had various assignments, most renowned being at the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He could talk your ear off about that. The USS Maryland was separated only by one other ship from the USS Arizona when it was struck and sank in Pearl Harbor. Dad's ship was hit too, as nearly all of them were, but fortunately didn't go down. Still many of his fellow sailors were killed... can't imagine witnessing such a scene.

After the War the Navy kept their promise... Join the Navy and See the World. Here's a picture of him when he retried in 1959 when he was 38.

I could go on and on and tell you so many stories of his adventures, how he met my mom, how they ended up in San Diego and how my mother became ill and died at 41 years old, leaving him to raise their family of six kids and how he was a devoted father and for that I am so grateful and so glad that God determines the exact times and places that we should live.

Here's dad in one of the many Pearl Harbor Days Parades he participated in. He became a very active member of the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association as he was so proud of those years serving and sacrificing so we could enjoy the Freedom we have now ~ that's what today is all about.

Proverbs 17:6
Children’s children are a crown to the aged
And parents are the pride of their children.

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