It was an old postcard stuffed in the back of one of my drawers in the bedroom. You know the kind of drawer I'm talking about...where all the stuff goes you don't know where else to put it? My mom gave me the card a few years ago. Part of that ritual your parents follow when they get along in years: coming to terms with their mortality and a better understanding of the civility of giving out items of value to their kids.
The front of the card was a view of Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. You can date the picture by the vintage 1950's vehicles parked in the parking lot. Actually, my dad sent me that while he was in South Dakota completing a hitch as an Air Force
reserve officer. The card said he was outside a base near Rapid City, SD and that he was looking forward to seeing my mom, my sister and myself.
Surprisingly enough, I remember getting the postcard. I read the card while I was watching KOLN TV
in Lincoln, Nebraska
, watching a program called "Mr. Crystal Ball" - starring a guy named Wayne West
who seemed to be the only guy working at the station at that time. Mom brought it home from the post office in Edgar, Nebraska
where we lived. We usually didn't go get our mail because that's where my dad worked, so I usually associated mail with my dad getting home from work.
One of the cars in the picture looked like our 1955 Chevrolet
. I was just sure that it was our car and somehow Dad had managed to have that picture taken. Why he was there was simply one those trips he took sometimes took to "work" for the Air Force.
I was born at a military hospital located on Selfridge Air Force Base
near Mt. Clemens, Michigan
. I remember bits and pieces of our time there and more so, seeing most men wear nothing but military uniforms. Most of my dad's buddies were former military associates. Dad ultimately continued his military work as an air traffic controller into his civilian career as a air traffic controller with the FAA
My dad was a Korean War
Veteran. His grave marker in Edgar displays a medallion and during Memorial Day Weekend, a flag.
Military service creates a different family culture. Those of you who have served or grew up in such a home know what I mean. My dad was a very patriotic man. He imparted a very clear set of values to me. Those values include duty, honor and integrity.
I don't often get to return to Nebraska to visit my dad's grave during Memorial day any more. I do celebrate his service and the sacrifices of those who came before him and after him.
I haven't had the opportunity to observe Memorial Day with my dad since I was 15. If you have a family member who has served, thank him or her for their willingness to protect freedom. If not, join the others and observe a Memorial Day service in your community.This link
provides a Tribute to those men and women who serve to protect our freedom.