Honoring Fathers and Honoring Veterans

by jhwygirl

My father is a WWII veteran, who served as a Marine in the Pacific theater. He earned a purple heart there, and his service has never been something he’s been able (or willing) to talk much about. The deaths of his fellow Marines – some during the event which earned him his purple heart – always kept his conversation regarding war to a bare minimum. “It’s not glorious, j – not in any way. Don’t make it out to be something it isn’t. War is ugly. Don’t you forget it.” There was a tinge of both anger and sadness in his voice when he told me that. It was when I was in high school. I had gone up in attic and dragged out his Marine clothing, wanting to use his jacket (back then it was ‘cool’). Needless to say, I didn’t get to wear the jacket – I remember his boxing it up and getting it out of the house.

I always felt bad about that, because of the emotion it evoked in my father. He was never very emotional, so seeing it was notable.

If you are reading this and have yet to plan your day – don’t forget the Welcome Home Montana celebration from noon to 6 p.m. today in Caras Park. We blogged about this event previously here. It’s an opportunity to gather together with community members – namely, veterans – and celebrate their service with live music, tributes, and events for children. A Carousel for Missoula will be giving free rides all day.

The celebration is part of a bi-partisan effort to honor local veterans, in part, with extended community support via local businesses. As Dave Budge outlined in this post from Left in the West:

Interestingly, the cross section of people involved in this initiative are as diverse as I’ve ever seen. We have members from the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center to retired military officers to just plain folks who are grateful simply for having those to commit a few years in national service.

When I attended one of the initial organizational meetings I was taken aback when someone – and really not disparagingly – wondered if the involvement of peace activists would cause conflicts. There were two retired officers who quickly jumped up and one said “I didn’t spend two years in combat so we could pick and choose whose opinions we should recognize.”

Simple as that. Everyone in this effort has the same goal.

I’m going to go give my father a call now. After that, I’ll see ya’all down at Caras Park.

  1. petetalbot

    A belated thanks, jhwygirl, for writing this post. It’s deeply personal and is revealing in its honesty (war isn’t glorious, it’s ugly, and leaves scars on those who served), yet your piece also honors and offers thanks to all our nation’s veterans. Nice job.

  2. Thanks Pete.

    One thing me and my dad could agree on wholeheartedly was politics. Even in my teenage years.

    I credit my addiction to news and politics to him.

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