.

It's Never Too Late To Thank A Veteran

Thank a veteran on Veteran's Day or any day. Here's to you, dad.

Veteran’s Day is coming up and I am thinking alot about my dad at this moment. He was a man who served and loved God, his family and the USA. Fred was a World War II veteran and was only 18 when he went to fight for his country. That’s not much older than the age my son, Evan, is now.

Fred was an only child. Both his parents and he were frightened when he went off to war the summer he graduated from high school. Before he left for basic training, his dad asked Fred to write his mother every day to let her know that he was alive and safe.

A dutiful son, he granted his father’s wish and wrote his parents every day, although sometimes a week of letters would arrive in one day. Sometimes he could not tell them where he was writing from for security reasons, but at least they got the most important news that he was alive.

A dutiful son, he granted his father’s wish and wrote his parents every day, although sometimes a week of letters would arrive in one day. Sometimes he could not tell them where he was writing from for security reasons, but at least they got the most important news that he was alive.

A loving mother, his mom kept every letter until he was home in Hackensack, safe and sound. She probably read them more than once before passing them around to others to read.

Now, three volumes of “Dear Mother and Dad” letters offer a chronicle of Fred’s life as a foot soldier in the 94th Infantry Division. They start with the rigors of basic training in the heat of the deep South, how he and his bunk mates enjoyed their leaves and packages from home. The letters take a reader through his deployment to Germany, France and Czechoslovakia and the battles that were fought. They also talk about a friendship formed in less than a week with a young man in Czechoslovakia, which later lasted more than 60 years.

While some veterans never want to talk about their war experiences, my Dad talked about it every day from the time I could remember. He spent many years later reminiscing with a few of his old army buddies he looked up before the Internet was born. His stories told not only the brave side of war, but also how frightened a young man felt in a small fox hole with bullets flying overhead.

I remember one story he told about coming across a dead German soldier and looking in his wallet for ID. Behind his official papers, Fred came upon a photo of the soldier with the wife and two young children he left behind to fight his war. Fred told us from that moment on, he vowed he would never kill the enemy if he could help it and he said he felt blessed because he never had to.   

After the war was over, Fred received a number of commendations for his honorable service. The certificates and medals hung in my parent’s foyer and his army uniform hung in their closet. They are somewhere in a box I brought home before their house was sold. I am still thinking about where to place them.

Since Fred’s passing, I often think it’s too bad I didn’t listen hard enough to remember each and every detail of his war stories. But then I have to smile and think at least we have his letters that tell his story.

Thanks for serving our country, Dad, and for writing about it. Your letters will be read with love for years to come.

It’s never too late to thank a veteran for serving our country. Say thanks to a vet when you see one.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »