My daughter recently blogged about Memorial Day and was discussing what the day meant to my Grand son.
It is always endearing to hear thoughts from your children of their impression of their Grand father.
My father was my hero.
From a young age I remember the respect that was shown to him as an officer in the Navy. How the enlisted men at the base gate would strike into attention and salute as we pulled up.
As a young man, my father was intrigued in sailing upon water. This he said was the reason for enlisting.
After Basic Training he was sent to Hawaii to Pearl Harbor. Yes he was there that fateful Sunday morning watching the Japanese dropping bombs on the fleet from under a crane where he ducked for protection.
Shortly afterward he was assigned to the USS Grenadier a submarine.
While on patrol April 21st,1943,patrolling along the Malay and Thai coasts, the Grenadier spotted and was spotted by a Japanese plane.
The sub crashed dived to 120-130feet.
Thinking that they were safe from any attack,bombs rocketed the sub and heeled her over 15 to 20 degrees. Power and lights failed completely and the fatally wounded ship settled to the bottom at 267 feet. A fierce fire blazed in the maneuvering room.
After 13 hours of sweating it out on the bottom, the Grenadier managed to surface after dark to clear the boat of smoke and inspect damage.
At dawn April 22 the crew abandoned ship after destroying confidential materials.Under battle and air attack, the skipper scuttled the ship,reluctantly opening all vents, watching her sink to her final resting place.A Japanese Merchant ship picked up 8 officers and 68 enlisted men and took them to Penang, Malay States ,where they were questioned,beaten and starved before being sent to other prison of war camps.
My father ended up in Ofuna Prison camp in Japan and was a prisoner of war for two years.
All but four crew survived their two years in Japanese hands.
Upon return to the United States my father married my mother and made the Navy his career.
Throughout the years we moved around the United States and my father rose in the ranks to become skipper of several ASR, (Auxillary Submarine Rescue) Submaine Rescue Vessels. His last tour being in San Diego as the Commander of Submarine Support Facilities on Point Loma.
What a huge achievement for a young dreamer, who lived in Oklahoma, wanting to "get in a boat and float on the lake".
In discussing Memorial Day with my grand son, my daughter looked up my father's name and found information on his capture . There was also a remark written by one of my dad's shipmates later in his career. This brought pride and remembrance of how great a man my dad was, as written by a friend and co-worker.
He was awarded a Purple Heart.
He was most handsome when dressed in his dress white uniform with his ribbons and medals.
I always feel proud of our military and have patriotism for my country because of these wonderful men and women who protect and defend us.
Thanks dad, you truly are My Hero!
Monday, May 04, 2009
Looking back 41 years today, I became a mother.
I was an "unwed mother". The brand that no nice girl would want to carry as a badge on her life.
Love brought life into my body,but unquestionably extreme sorrow and huge decisions that I had to make as a young adult.
I felt disconnected to my family as my parents faced their own stress and marital problems, and although they were there for me when the inevitable became obvious, I removed myself to Hawaii to prepare for the birth of my first son.
Through many hours of good council, I made the decision to give this beautiful child to a couple that desperately wished to have a baby and could not.
We were together for 9 months. I would talk to him and love him as I nurtured him within the save environment of my body
I can still remember awaking to the first birth pang, the labor and his delivery; desperately requesting to see him before they whisked him away to the nursery.
The day I signed the papers for his adoption, his father said that perhaps some day the Lord would bring him back into our lives.
What seemed like a thousand years and through inumerous tears, but with the consolation of giving that gift of life to someone else, never knowing where he was or how he was doing, life went on.
He was always there in my heart, a part of me was missing.
Just short of 25 years later, God knocked on the door of my life and presented me with the gift of my son, restored to me after so many lost years!
We were an instant match. I have never been so blessed as with that day. It was like giving birth over again.
I cannot imagine that it has been 41 years ago that I, a young woman, carried this pain, but the Lord has turned this mourning to joy, unfathomable joy, that cannot be expressed.
We have been restored mother and son.
Each one of my four children are gifts from God. They are my most precious jewels that have been given to me to guard and care for and I am thankful for motherhood and the responsibility that it carried.
They are all grown now and building lives of their own. I smile and am proud of the gift I gave someone else, the tears that fell so often, even though it hurt so much, the gift God had given me has made it all worth it.