Sunday, November 11, 2012

Portrait of a Marine

It's Veterans Day today and that always gets me thinking about my dad who passed away twenty years ago this December.  He was a career Marine who loved America with all his heart. I can't help but think how sad he would feel today at the division and strife running rampant across our country in the year 2012.


My dad was a man of few words who lived his life with the utmost of integrity.  He taught us the value of hard work and that pereption matters.  He reminded us we live in a country that is free, not because we wish it so, but because our servicemen and women fight to make and keep it so.  

Today we fly our flag against a bright November sky and I remember the man in uniform, and also the man at the dinner table.  The Sunday School teacher, the disciplinarian, the football fan, the wood worker and teller of corny jokes.  The man who lit the grill with gasoline and unwrappped his Christmas presents with a letter opener.  The man who churned ice cream by hand and taught me to ride a bike by letting it fly down a hill as he shouted hold on.  The man who loved babies and puppies and the Rocky Mountains.  The man who swelled with pride at the playing of The Marine Corps Hymn and turned to mush at the sound of a grandgirl calling Poppie.  


The man who held us to high standards, but was always there to catch us when we missed the mark. The man with a twinkle in his eye, and a voice that sang out of tune, but with feeling and gusto and volume. The man always called upon to narrate the Christmas cantata, not because he couldn't sing, but because he had a commanding speaking voice.  The man who loved Charlie Pride and Amazing Grace.  The man who shined his shoes with spit and polish.  The man who taught me to drive, walked me down the aisle, and rocked my babies. 


The Marine who moved his family from coast to coast and base to base. Who led family devotions and lived within his means.  The farm boy who became part of the greatest generation and went on to serve again and again.  WW2, Korea,Vietnam.   

The man whose grave is marked with a simple white cross on a hill called Arlington.  A cross that save for the wording, looks just like the many thousands of other white crosses planted across that quietly majestic Virigina cemetary.  


The man who lived his life with honor, and in death wanted his grave marked no differently than any other soldier.  It's something I love about Arlington, that in death rank matters not at all...where Colonel and Private are interred side by side.  In the end, they are soldiers.  

America can learn a lot from her soldiers.

Today I think of veterans everywhere, some gone and some now old men and women. Some still in the prime of their lives.  Every generation is called to answer freedom's call and I'm thankful for each and every one who did.  

I'm thankful most of all for the example of a man who was more than a solider and patriot.  He was also my dad.

25 comments:

  1. I am moved to tears by this tribute, my friend. How eloquently you honor the memory of the man you were privileged to call Dad. His influence on your life is evident in your devotion to God, family, country, in your sense of humor, in your sense of justice and morality. I am sure you feel his legacy.

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  2. God Bless your family, Joyce! What a wonderful example your Dad was to you, and your girls. I thank him for his service, and I thank you, his family. It's not easy being a military family member, but the soldier's sacrifices, keep us all free!

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  3. A great memory and tribute to your Dad. A huge Thank-you to all veterans Today and Everyday for our freedom.

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  4. What a precious post! I love the first photo of your Dad. Thank you for his service and his family's sacrifices.
    My Dad is a Marine too. "The Few, The Proud..."

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  5. What a tribute, Joyce and what a fine man your dad must have been. He left quite a legacy and obviously many precious memories. Thanks for sharing him with us today.

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  6. I got chills reading this - I love this story about your Dad :-)

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  7. You wrote a beautiful tribute about your father. The pictures show memories your children will cherish. I am especially proud of my grandfather the same way you talk about your Dad. My grandfather was my father figure and I miss him dearly!

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  8. Beautiful tribute to your dad. I was thinking the other day about my grandfathers who fought in World War I. One grandfather was in France, the other I don't remember and this has reminded me to ask my dad about that. Thanks for writing about your dad today.

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  9. What a special tribute Joyce!

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  10. I can't believe it has been twenty years since your Dad passed. He sounds very special. I wish I could have met him. Really nice tribute from a loving daughter.

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  11. How blessed you are to have such a father!!! It is men like him that make America great ... and thankfully they instill integrity and love-of-God-and-country in their children, the next generation, which hopefully keeps those values going.

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  12. A brilliant tribute to your dad. He sounds as if he was a wonderful man.

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  13. A very moving tribute to your father and to all servicemen and women. Nicely said.

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  14. I send a thanks to your father... I can only imagine how much you miss him.

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  15. Crying. What a sweet tribute. My Dad is also a veteran and is still alive. Your reminder of what they did/who they are has inspired me to make a call of thanks. He'll dismiss it and say we should be thankful for everyone else's sacrifice, but it will do us both good to be thankful for what we have in our own family!

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  16. Wow...what an amazingly beautiful tribute to your dad! So grateful for his service to our great country! My dad was a WWII vet. Left his tiny hometown in AR. at the age of 18 to join the Army and soon found himself in Japan. He was a man of honor, dignity, and great character and instilled in me a deep love for my country. I miss him so much!

    If you get a chance...stop by today. I'm hosting a May Books giveaway and would love to have you join!

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  17. I have only visited Arlington once, and I couldn't keep the tears from rolling down my face as I looked out over those hills. Thank you for letting me know a little more about the life one of those crosses stands for. And thank you for sharing your father with us as a nation. He sounds like an amazing man.

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  18. I am sobbing!! What an amazing post ...a true hero to everyone.

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  19. Well this is just the most beautiful tribute. What a beautiful way to honor your very special dad. I can see why he was so missed. The world is lacking men and women of that caliber. They don't seem to be as plentiful as they were in years gone by... Donna

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  20. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. He sounds like he was a wonderful man, an amazing dad ... I'm sure you miss him.

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  21. What a very beautiful post (I know others have said the same thing...but, really, it's true). The love for your dad and his love for this country and family, among other things...wonderful.

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  22. Beautiful post Joyce honoring a wonderful man.
    Such sweet pictures. ((HUGS))

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