Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Honoring my Dad on Veterans Day

My Dad in the U.S. Navy in 1944
In the United States, Veterans Day has been observed on November 11 each year since the end of World War I.  Originally known as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of hostilities in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, it officially became known as Veterans Day in 1954 when President Eisenhower established this day as a National Holiday. 

As we honor … and remember … all who served in the U.S. Military this Veterans Day, I am remembering my dad and his time in the U.S. Navy.


Joining the Service



My Family - Christmas 1943

By the time the United States entered World War II, my dad was already married and father to two children.  He was working for Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY doing war work and thus was exempt from the draft.  But by late 1944 his brother and 2 of his brothers-in-law were all serving in various branches of the military and he couldn't stand not being a part of the fight for his country.  So one day he simply went downtown and joined the Navy ~ then went home and told my mother!


Basic Training and Beyond


Navy PBY Flying Boat



Dad was sent to basic training in Jacksonville, Florida and later transferred to the Naval Air Station in Hutchinson, Kansas where he was assigned as crew chief and rear turret gunner aboard the Navy's PBYs (Patrol Bomber), training in air-sea search & rescue work. These U.S. Navy PBY Catalina Units were also used as submarine hunters throughout the Pacific during World War II.


My mother, my brother & I were able to join dad after his basic training in Florida, and later be with him in Kansas.  The war ended before dad ever made it overseas, but he was so proud to be in the Navy and part of the war effort.



Favorite Memory

 

Me and my Dad

I have a  favorite memory of a conversation dad & I had many years ago when we were talking about that time of his life.  It went like this:
“Dad, you were in the Navy, right?”

“Right”

“And you worked on airplanes, right?”

“Right”

“And you were stationed in Kansas, right?”

“Right”

“And you were in the NAVY?”

Kansas may be a long way from the ocean, but the Navy wasn't confused. Eastern Kansas was perfect because it was mostly rural with lots of land available in the 1940s, with fairly flat terrain. It also had lots of blue skies and was away from the coast lines for security reasons.  During World War II, the Navy built air stations here to train cadet pilots.

Wartime at Home

World War II In-Service Flag

I heard family stories about that final year of World War II when my grandmother had 3 Stars in her front window, signifying that she had 3 family members serving in the military.  My dad represented one of those stars.




Veterans Day


I'm proud of my dad and all the members of my family who served in the military.  I wish to honor my dad, my family members and all the men & women who have served and are currently serving our country this Veterans Day and every day.



Images:

*Intro image is of my dad in his Navy uniform in 1944.  He was SO young looking!
*Other family images are from my family albums.
*PBY Flying Boat image is found on Wikipedia Commons and is part of the Public Domain.
*World War II In-Service Flag/Banner is part of the Public Domain

+Veterans Day | +My Dad | | +U.S. Navy | +WWII | +Wednesday-Elf


(c) Article originally published 11/5/2013.  Updated 11/8/2016

10 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful tribute to your family's efforts in war and peace. Thank you for sharing this bit of your history. We will all remember!

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  2. How very special! My husband is a Navy vet who never served on a ship, never even went aboard a ship. He worked at a Naval Air Station, too, but at least he was stationed on the east coast. My son are vets, too, so we certainly honor veterans every day and especially on Veterans Day.

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    1. Everyone in the military deserves to be honored on Veterans Day. Interesting that your husband, a Navy Vet, also served at a Naval Air Station. Please thank your family members for me for their service, Susan.

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  3. We call it Remembrance Day here in Canada but set aside the same day as a special tribute to those who served in the Canadian military. Loved your conversation with your dad (made me smile) and your interesting page.

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    1. Thanks, Brenda. It's interesting to learn that our Veterans Day is called Remembrance Day in Canada for your Canadian military to be honored. We definitely do 'remember' all of them this day!

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  4. America owes a real debt of gratitude to all of the men and women who have served in the military. I smiled over your memory of your conversation with your dad. I don't think very many people think "airplanes and pilots" when they are thinking about the navy, but they are certainly extremely important to our countries safety and first line of defense.

    This is a lovely tribute to your dad, Elf. And, to your mom as well. I would imagine it took a great deal of restraint to not knock him over the head with her frying pan when he joined without first discussing it with her.

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    1. LOL, Mouse. From stories I was told, mom was ready to 'kill' him for joining up without telling her. But he knew she'd never agree and it was just something dad felt very strongly about. He couldn't let the rest of his family serve without doing his part. Mom DID put her foot down at the end of WWII when the Navy offered to teach dad to fly if he would sign up and make the Navy his career. He really wanted to, but by then he had 3 kids under 5 and mom said "No, we are going home".

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  5. What a nice remembrance and way to honor your dad. Lovely.

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