My Hero. My Dad.
My Father was a member of the “Greatest Generation.” Those that answered the call to serve in World War II. He was born in Ireland in 1922, came to the USA in 1926 at the age of 4 with my Grandmother (my Grandfather had already emigrated through Ellis Island, but thats another story). In December of 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor, we entered the war, and in 1942 my Dad enlisted in the United States Marine Corp.
He fought in the South Pacific as a member of the 22nd Marine Division. He survived 6 landings, (including Guam) considering he was a first “wave” scout, his odds of surviving each landing was probably small to none. But, as his famous saying goes, “He zigged when he was supposed to zig, and zagged when he was supposed to zag.”
The picture he holds is 70 years old. Its a youthful young man, dressed in his Marine Blues, about to head off to War… to the unknown. I’m amazed he is wearing a smile, I think I would have been to scared to have worn a smile. From when I was a little boy I remember this picture hanging on a wall in their bedroom… It burned a bit in my memory. I often think of my Dad and all he saw, and did. A kid from Brooklyn who volunteered to go across the world to fight in a war consuming the Globe. When I saw Saving Private Ryan with him, I asked him about the opening sequence, and he replied, it was pretty much like that, only the water ran redder and it was a helluva lot noisier and chaotic.
Finally got a chance to sit the picture on his lap today. To bring the present and the past together. At 89 he appears a bit different than that young man in the early 1940′s. His smile is the same though, and he still to this day remains my #1 Hero. My Dad.
(btw… the flag next to him is his brother’s- my Uncle Stephens’. He passed away last year. He served with honor in the United States Navy)
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