My father is 87 years old, a veteran of World War II, and a retired Baptist minister. I often tell people that he’s in better shape than I am, which is true. To prove it, he beats me at golf every time we play, and he still teaches other people how to fly airplanes. That is not a typo — my dad is a flight instructor at the age of 87. Pretty amazing.
The photo above was taken of my father in 1944. He served in the old Army Air Corps, the predecessor of the modern Air Force, flying C47s and C46s out of England and North Africa. C47s were the military versions of the DC3 commercial passenger plane, but my dad hauled paratroopers and cargo, not paying passengers. After the war, he served as a reserve officer, then in the Civil Air Patrol.
A couple of years ago the four of us — my dad, my stepmother Lola, Debbie, and I — went to Washington, D.C. to see the World War II memorial. We walked around the reflecting pool, found the monument to the service personnel from Georgia, and enjoyed seeing the beauty of that grand memorial to the war that everyone hoped would end all war.
I realize that on Memorial Day, the focus is on those who gave their lives. But my father, and millions of other young men like him, did give their lives. They volunteered to serve and were fortunate enough to come home. And they gave those years of their lives between youth and manhood to their country and to all those who would follow. Some of them did not come home. My Dad was fortunate enough to be among those who did return.
Dad, thanks for what you did. Thanks for the honor and courage you embodied. Thanks for the dedication you have to freedom and liberty. Thanks for the example you have always set for me. I love you and I’m proud of you. Yours is truly the greatest generation.