Sunday, July 04, 2004

Pondering Freedom II

Today is Independence Day for the United States of America. In my family it was always a big deal, especially while my Daddy was healthy and active. He made sure there was always a big cook-out, chilled watermelon, and, if we could, we went to see the fireworks downtown in Hyden, Kentucky. If not, he watched the fireworks set off by the neighbor boys. The Fourth of July was a time to celebrate being free and, in many respects, being alive because he served in World War II and was wounded in it.

Daddy was never talked much about The War. He served in the Army and received the Bronze Star for bravery, but no one knows what for. "I'm not proud of what I had to do," he would say. "I did what needed to be done. Those other men were just like me," he would say.

Daddy never quite got over the war. He had nightmares all his life and fire-crackers always seemed to sound like enemy fire at times. You never touched him to wake him up either - not because Daddy would hurt you, but because it made him react. We always called to him and woke him that way from a nap.

My Daddy was my hero. A quiet man in many respects who loved to laugh and pull pranks. Who did what he needed to do to raise his family, which, for him, was to work in the coal mines to raise four daughters and one son. We were his pride and joy, and our Mommy was the love of his life.

World War II changed him, as it did many people. Yet, it didn't take away his spirit or make him cold. It made him appreciate life in all things. Daddy said he was not a better man for having gone to war, because killing a man does not make you better, but raising a family made him a better man.

I lost my Daddy on June 5th of this year, 2004. I am the youngest of his daughters and bear his name. I am proud to be his namesake and his Baby. I am proud to be an American woman who respects what he did for me and all his generation. I only hope and pray this country can continue to keep strong and not lose what it has gained from the sacrifice of men such as my Dad.

Happy Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day. God Bless America.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You father sounds like a prime example of, as was mentioned in the previous post, “our greatest generation ever.”

I would have liked to meet him.