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Honor and Dignity

Posted by [email protected] on May 27, 2016 at 9:40 AM

Honoring Our Beloved Veterans

Every Memorial Day, there is a flag planted at the foot of my father’s grave. He was a U.S. Army veteran and served in Korea in the mid-1940s.


I recently discovered an article written by a veteran who had also served in Korea, sharing his experience of returning home to the states. He wrote about the initial part of the journey home, crossing the Pacific in fifteen days. Some readers might say that he really didn’t have to share the grim details that he did, yet it was important to note what our men and women in service endure, far from the battlefield and beyond boot camp. The author of the article emphasized how emotional it was for everyone on board their military transport ship, the SS General Gordon, when they first caught site of the California coast and the Golden Gate Bridge.


My father was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in Seattle. The day was the 20th of November, 1947. I never asked him the name of the military transport ship that carried him home or recall him mentioning it. It was surely one that participated in Operation Magic Carpet, bringing home allied troops from overseas. How sad when we realize the countless questions we could have asked our parents when they were alive.


I wonder what my father caught site of first as they reached the American side of the pacific waters. In the late 1940s, the view coming into the Seattle harbour and Pier 36 wasn’t like the glitter and glamour of the Emerald City today. When my father returned home, he wouldn’t have seen the Space Needle, as it was erected in 1962.


Along with his comrades, my dad was processed through the Army base there. Then, they boarded a plane, final destination- Columbus, Ohio. His tenure serving our country wasn’t over by a long shot, as the plane crash-landed somewhere in Montana. I believe the story goes that those who survived the crash were transported by train to their final stop-Home. He made it.


Like the graves of all of the veterans in our cemetery, my father’s final resting place is decorated with a humble, little American flag on an oak dowel. The breeze catches its honorable stars and stripes now and then. It will only be there for a few short days. The flags will disappear and make their return on the Fourth of July and Veteran’s Day.


Thank you to our local veteran’s groups who care for and maintain the memories of our loved ones who have served for our freedom. They take a considerable amount of time to locate each veteran’s grave and gently place every American flag.


Blessings and peace to all this Memorial Day.

 

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