When I think of Veteran’s Day, I always remember my Dad.
He was an infantryman in the Rainbow Division who served in the European Theater during World War II. He saw action in France, Germany and Austria. He was wounded during the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, and was honorably discharged in 1945.
For his service, he received the Purple Heart and, much later in his life, he was awarded the Bronze Star.
In 2001, Dad’s regiment (Company M 222nd Infantry Regiment, 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division) was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation “for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an armed enemy.”
He never told us about the Presidential Unit Citation. We didn’t learn he’d even received notification about the commendation until after he’d died in 2003. He didn’t boast or brag about the medals or the honors. He just quietly accepted them - like so many others who have fought to protect the freedoms we, too often, take for granted.
And Dad, along with thousands of others who fought in European and Pacific Theaters during WWII, was a hero to so many people. Just as he’s still a hero to me.
Dad didn’t talk often about his time in the service. I think there were a lot of painful memories that he’d rather not have had.
He was, after all, a farm boy. His parents didn’t have much besides their land, each other and their children; life was simple. I suspect Dad never thought he’d venture outside ND, let alone outside the United States. But when his country called, he answered; like so many other men and women before and after him.
So today as we salute and honor our nation’s military personnel – past, present and future – I’m remembering my Dad.
Who is in your thoughts?
SW Washington Red Cross
Filed under: Military, Real Heros, Veterans | Tagged: 42nd Infantry Division (United States), Battle of Hurtgen Forest, Bronze Star Medal, European Theater, family, honors, military, Presidential Unit Citation, Purple Heart, Rainbow Division, service, Veteran's Day, WWII | 1 Comment »