I keep a picture of my dad in his army officer's uniform on a bookcase next to my desk in my music room. A friend stopped by on Saturday and while I was showing him the various memorabilia in my room, he noticed the picture of my dad and asked who it was. My friend noted that my dad was quite a handsome man. I sort of just let the comment pass and we moved on to something else, but the compliment stayed with me for the rest of the weekend. Maybe it was all the TV coverage about Memorial Day and the various remembrance ceremonies, or maybe it was that I had passed that picture thousands of times and he but once, and yet he took notice of it.
I picked up my dad's picture just now and looked at it for good long while. He was, in fact, a handsome young man, and he struck quite a pose in his officer's uniform. My dad served in the U. S. Army before, during, and after World War II. He earned the rank of Chief Warrant Officer and was stationed on the island of Okinawa during the last part of WW II. It was not a secret in our family that daddy loved the military and probably felt his biggest mistake was leaving the army before retiring. However, he rarely talked in much detail to me about his wartime experiences until near the end of his life. I would sit and listen as he spoke with a great sense of pride about his military service. It was obvious that he wouldn't trade those times for any other.
I'm glad I took the time on this Memorial Day to look at my dad's picture and to remember him and recall some of our time together. I thank my friend for noticing and thus reminding me to take time to remember. In addition to being a kind and gentle man, a wonderful father, and a patient and devoted husband, Earl Brady Hamrick served his country with honor and was indeed a member of the greatest generation.