Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day

Before I get to a few thoughts about Memorial Day, I just want to let those of you who are interested in the "quest to quit," know that I'm now into day seven. I had a fairly stern test on Saturday night. Nancy and I threw some meat on the grill, she had her usual one glass of wine, while I tossed back several vodka tonics. This was the first time I had much to drink since I stopped smoking. It wasn't nearly as agonizing as I thought it might be and I did make it through, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss having my old friend along while I drank. There's an even bigger test looming this coming weekend, as I go back for my high school reunion. Wish me luck.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Tommy,
    My dad was a Warrant Officer in the Army and was in it all of his life...a true career soldier and patriot. Serving in Korea and Vietnam twice. I lost him 4 years ago and I think of him so much every Veteran's Day and Memorial Day...I keep a picture of him in his uniform as a young man of 25 (when I was born) and he too looked so handsome and ready to face the challenges of the world. I enjoyed reading the post and it made me feel nostalgic...thanks.
    Your friend,