Iwo Jima, kamikaze, Hiroshima, Nagasaki...all words that fascinated me as a child. A world I would never see except through Dad's eyes. He rarely told a battle story only the funny ones to me but I overheard conversations when Dad forgot "Little pitchers have big ears." He only talked with others that had served. I saw the war in his eyes and it haunted me almost as much as it haunted him.
Dad taught me to love Big Band music, told me about "pin up girls" (Dad liked Rita Hayworth) and the pictures his friends carried. He talked of submarines, ships, planes and amphibious vehicles. He talked of friends and enemies. Dad talked of Churchill, MacArthur, Roosevelt, Eisenhower and letters from home. He talked of chocolate, K-rations and how he found a ripe tomato on Okinawa.
Dad talked of how they were rarely told where they were going or even where they were. Snipers, flame throwers and children with hand grenades were things I overheard. He served as they asked and as they commanded. It was what an American did.
Today I honor all who have served. Those who made it home "okay", those who did not and those still serving. Thank you from the bottom of my heart with my deepest respect.