Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Gift For Dad

My dad is one of those people that doesn’t really talk about his Army service or his time in Vietnam. Every once in a while I would catch a little bit in conversation but it has taken time to get a relatively complete picture. Because of this, he hasn’t every really been recognized for the sacrifices he made right out of high school. With that said, I have never heard him say that he regretted going into the military. On the contrary, it proved to be a means to obtain an education and it definitely squared him away going from a C student athlete in high school to an accelerated progression through his undergraduate and graduate work.

My dad has achieved a lot in his life but is never one to talk about his accomplishments. While there isn’t much that we can do about this (especially in regard to his professional career), there are some small steps that we have taken as a family in recent years to try and at least acknowledge his military service. This included having my dad at the lodge last year for Veteran’s Night. Not only was it nice to have him sitting in the lodge with me but it was great seeing him recognized alongside his brother and other veterans in attendance for their service in the armed forces. It was also nice seeing him recognized at the Family Reunion over the summer as well. 

However, my sister took it to the next level this year during her Thanksgiving trip down to Washington DC. While at The National Air and Space Museum she inquired as to the steps that needed to be taken to have our dad included in the Wall of Honor memorial which “recognizes those with a passion for flight.” It didn’t take long before I started receiving texts about our dad’s service. Not having my files in front of me, I answered them the best I could remember (I should have more information in the future once my dad gives me a copy of his DD-214 for the family archives). By the time December came around, my sister had pulled together a pretty comprehensive profile to be included in the database. We all worked together to give my dad this recognition, our gift to him this holiday season.

After all, with the Army not recognizing him to the level that I would have liked to see, it is our responsibility to see that my dad is honored for his service. There are still small steps that we can take to do this and hopefully he will, once again, join me at the lodge in the coming year. However, the best thing that I can do at the moment is to keep doing what I am right now, writing and sharing the present and past family history with all those interested. Of course, I am also still trying to rack my brain as to how we can top this year’s gift for dad because, at the moment, I have no idea.