Sunday, June 17, 2012

My father is my hero

This is the first Father's Day without my father. I have been thinking about him all night.

I live in my childhood home. My father remarried and moved so I bought the house. Here is where all my memories of him live. I can see him everywhere. Walking across the lawn, cutting the grass, leaning in the doorway of his shed, barbequing on the patio, cutting watermelon, falling asleep while watching TV. All the memories bring an image of him. But of all the memories I have the image that stays with me the most are really just pictures- of him as a soldier. I never even saw him as soldier. Yet I stare and stare at those photos. Why does the idea of my father as a soldier stand out of any other?

Certainly that time period reflects his era but it is something more than that. I think when I see my father as a soldier I see him as a hero. It was hard to express my love to my father. Sometimes I would try a serious conversation but he would laugh it off and quickly change the subject. My father was a complex man. He almost seemed to be a different person through different times of his life. But the soldier image seems constant. That part of him didn't change. The soldier part was always with him.

A hero is defined as having distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds and noble qualities. My father was part of "The Greatest Generation." He was born in the Roaring Twenties, grew up in the Great Depression, he honorably served his country in WWll. After marrying my mother they moved to Levittown and raised a family in the suburbs. His life defined "The American Dream." He even started his own business. After my mother died he remarried and started a new life.
As he aged slowly his health declined but his love of life never did. He worked until he died and never felt sorry for himself. He thought of himself as a lucky man. So how else can you define someone who has lived through all that except as a hero?

He would think I was silly for calling him a hero. He was too humble, heroes are like that. But somewhere deep inside me I am still just a little girl remembering her daddy, her hero. I am running around the lawn while he cuts the grass. It is hot when he is done so he cuts us some watermelon. And after the long day he is tired and he sleeps. - I miss you, Dad.

1 comment:

ksandra kennedy said...

This brings tears to my eyes. Very well written. He would and does feel proud to have you as a daughter. He was the best man I will ever know. I miss him so much too. I have and will always be proud to call him Dad