I of course think of my dad all the time, but, on this holiday I think more about him and the sacrifice he made for our country. Growing up you did not hear him talk about being in Vietnam, it was almost like he never wanted to speak of it again. He would however talk about his army buddies and you could see how much he loved these guys and thought of them like brothers. When the Vietnam Memorial Wall was completed him and my mom and his 3 buddies and there wives met in DC, for the the ceremony and to be together. I know now today how important that was for my dad and his friends, back then I for sure did not get or understand.
It wasn’t till around the time I was getting married did he start talking about it a little more and maybe because his army buddy was coming to my wedding and I know he was beyond excited for that. I was excited to meet this guy that my dad had talked about for as long as I could remember. When the day finally came and I met him, he was really one of the sweetest guys I had ever met he was positive, funny, always smiling and laughing. He actually started telling stories about there time over there and it was so fascinating to here them and to have a glimpse of what my dads life was like at that time. You could see how much these guys cared for each other and the bond that they had, even so many years after the war and living in different states. I had never really thought about what my dad had to give up or miss in his life, since he was drafted back in that day. He wasn’t there for the birth of my sister and I never really thought about that till I had my first child, and thought then how my mom must have felt having her first baby without her husband by her side.. I do remember him telling me about his best friend from school age that was also in the war but stationed somewhere else and how he learned of his death through a letter that my mom wrote him. He didn’t get to go home for the funeral or to even process the death as he was there fighting and protecting. My dad never complained or even said bad things about being there, he would talk about the drug use, and the bugs and things like that but nothing ever negative… My dad had health issues ever since he was out of that war and about 10 years or so ago was deemed 100% disabled by the Vet Hospital, all for protecting American and being in a place that literally he was forced to go to.
When my dad went into the hospital for the last time over 5 years ago, he was unconscious and had a machine breathing for him, I remember just praying that I would be able to hear his voice again and to be able to say the things I wanted and needed to. In that time of 7 days of him laying there, his best friend ( army buddy) and his wife came to see him as we were not sure how things would go. That morning they came, my dad was able to get the tube out of his throat and started to breath and eyes were opened and the sparkle back in his eyes. To see the look on his face when he saw his friend was probably the best thing I have witnessed, the bond and love these guys had for each other showed even though sadly two weeks later my dad would pass away from a lung condition cause by the Agent Orange that was sprayed upon him and other men and woman fighting and protecting us here. Neve did he complain, never did he say it was anyones fault, he just fought his own battle till his body just couldn’t do it anymore.
As a little girl I always thought of my dad as a hero, being older and wiser and knowing so much more, he was a hero, to America, not just to me his little girl. I do not think I could have anymore pride for him, on so many levels. But, I also want to say to his army buddies, that he loved you SO, you made the biggest impact on him, I know you all feel and understand.
I love you guys and thank God that my dad had you all in his life.
So today I hope everyone thinks and gives thanks to those who have served or are serving and realize the sacrifices that they make each and everyday for us to sleep in peace.