I was afraid of my dad. Even as an adult I couldn’t be alone with him in the same room without trembling. My dad was a veteran of WWII. As soon as he graduated high school and received a diploma, he signed up for the draft at the next table. No young man of able body was exempt. After basic training he was shipped to the Asiatic Pacific Theater.
Whenever the subject of the war came up, dad would laugh and say, “The war was over by the time I got there. I played golf in Japan on Uncle Sam.” He was our dad. We believed him.
But his behavior told another story. He had a terrible temper. He mostly yelled at mom who, if it was summer, would close all the windows so the neighbors couldn’t hear. After his tirade he would get in the car and leave. We wouldn’t see him until the next day.
It seemed to me, our whole existence was an attempt to keep dad from blowing up. Try as we might it never worked. Often mom used the possibility of dad’s anger to control my behavior. I think that is why I was afraid of him.
We girls, at times, would be the recipients of his rage. One time, mad at my younger sister, he took off after her. I stood up to him. Instead of my sister, he took off after me, swearing. That was the first and last time I ever challenged him. Dad’s shouting scared me to death but he never beat me.
Mostly, the turmoil was within him. Mom and my two sisters and I got the overflow. He struggled with depression. This is something I also struggle with. As an adult I recognized this in him. A neighbor pointed out to mom that dad was worse in the spring.
Our family was a church going family but Dad struggled with his faith. It wasn’t until he was in his 70s that a minister took him seriously and started a dialogue with him. I credit that minister for saving my dad from his unbelief. Dad died when he was 81 from complications of heart disease.
To get a more complete view I need to say more. My dad was a brilliant chemist with several patents, a talented woodworker and an industrious entrepreneur. He was a renaissance man.
After dad died in 2008, we briefly looked into his military service and got his medals. At the time I wondered how one received medals for playing golf. It wasn’t until this past year that my mom talked with someone from the army who could interpret dad’s military history.
My mom and sister were asked what dad was like living with. They gave a short description. They were told dad suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
They also learned dad was in the battle of Luzon in the Philippines in 1945. He was a member of a team lying, maintaining and taking up the wire or cable of a telephone or telegraph communication system and locating and determining the cause of the line trouble and making appropriate repairs. This was all done while the battle raged overhead. Dad saw a lot. He was in extreme danger. Luzon was a horrible battle.
Dad was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon and the Bronze Battle Star. He was decorated with the Victory Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal in Japan. So he was in Japan after the war. I doubt he played much golf. Dad was recommended for further military training. He was Honorably Discharged.
I have read a couple articles on the Luzon battle from History.com. Luzon was the last battle of the Pacific Theatre. It was fought by the Americans and Filipinos to free the Philippines from Japan. The battle went through the spring which may explain why my dad suffered depression during the spring.
This all makes me terribly sad. Dad was misunderstood. When the Army guy heard we were told dad played golf for the army, he said he’d heard that before. Apparently, it was something the men said to disguise the truth. They decided not to talk about it.
I realize this is just one of the many stories of the brave men and women who fought valiantly for God and country. I am thankful for their sacrifice that stopped men like Hitler, Mussolini and Yamamoto. I am also thankful for the spouses and the children of these soldiers. We also paid a price.
Freedom is never free. Approximately 85 million people worldwide paid the ultimate price during WWII.
This is like salvation which is also not free. It cost the Father the life of His Son. Jesus died so men, women, boys and girls of every race might be forever free from sin, death and hell. Thank Jesus today!
I want to thank my sisters for helping me write this post.
Be Ye Glad!
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