Yes, I am remembering lots of things about my military upbringing this Memorial Sunday.
First of all, THANK YOU to all our military people, present and past - and future too.
My dad (Grandpa Leo) would have been 108 on April 11th this year. And, although he's been gone a very long time, I remember so many stories he told about his career in the military. It all started when he lied about his age (not a good idea!) and joined the Navy when he was 16. When he'd 'served' his time, at age 20, he turned around and enlisted in the Army where he spent over thirty years, retiring as a Colonel. He was almost 40 when I was born, so he'd already had quite an adventurous life.
I was born smack dab in the middle of WWII and Dad first retired in 1948. Believe it or not, he reenlisted for the Korean War and finally took full retirement when I was only about 9 years old. He was still young and, in the civilian world, he worked as Post Master in Campbell, CA; then Director of Parks and Recreation in Santa Clara, CA for several years.
I loved my dad although I also feared him - mostly his voice! His nickname was "Leo, the Lion Ryan," for his deep booming voice, built in to a fairly small man - 5'8" and probably 145 pounds, sopping wet!
I only remember getting one spanking in my life - and that was for misbehaving during Mass at the age of about 7 - a real no-no in our family. Dad told me he was going to spank me when we got home from church - I suffered a lot waiting - I remember tears in his eyes after he 'spanked' me with about 4 easy slaps on my behind. Then he hugged me and said, "Don't misbehave in church again!" I don't think I ever did.
He talked like the military man he was during all of my childhood. Instructions and requests were given as an 'order.' "Patsy, clean your room. That's an order!" Each evening before dinner, served promptly at 5:30, I stood behind my chair at the table until my dad was seated; then gave my vocabulary word of the day, spelled it, defined it and used it in a sentence. Then I was seated for dinner. Sounds terribly hard on a kid; but I'm thankful to him for his determination in educating his children - in so many ways.
I spent many years thinking he didn't love me enough; but I know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he loved me as much as he actually always told me - "I love you more than all the fish in the sea, stars in the sky, kids in the World, etc."
No matter what our political bent let's remember all the men and women, past, present and future who give their lives for us. This freedom we live in our lives is at times, unfortunately, due to the struggles and lives of our militaries - all the 'free' World.