"A date which will live in infamy", according to Franklin D..
This is a day that means a great deal to our family.
I flew home from San Antonio today.
As I walk through the concourse on my way to the plane, I always watch the gates that have just boarded and pick up newspapers the departing passengers have left behind......
It's okay to call me cheap.....I take some pride in it!
This morning I was lucky enough to grab the Chicago Trib, the San Antonio Express-News, and the USA Today.
All had articles about Pearl Harbor, but oddly, most of the articles were about how few of the survivors remain, and how many younger people don't even know the import of the date.
What a shame.
My Dad was born on 7 December 1921.
So had he lived, he would have been 84 today. Dad started smoking when he was 13 or so, and succumbed to lung cancer two years ago.
He was truly a part of what we now call "The Greatest Generation."
Dad had joined the Indiana National Guard when he was 19. When the news came on his 20th birthday that Pearl Harbor had been bombed, I wonder what he thought about this surprise birthday present?
At 20, I suspect he was frightened, but like most of his generation, knew there was a job that needed doin' and was ready to get to work.
My Dad was typical of many Dads of that era. He didn't talk a lot about what happened to him during the war, but in the jewelry box I had found the Purple Heart and knew my old man was special. He was like that about life too.
He didn't brag. He was not formally educated, but he was the type of guy the neighbors would bring their broken appliances to because they knew if Greybeard's Dad couldn't fix it, it was genuine junk!
He was a carpenter, mechanic, bricklayer, roofer, electrician, concrete finisher......you name it, he could do it, and he could do it better than average.
I was proud of him for a thousand reasons.
When I reached manhood,
I started hugging him and telling him THE WORDS.
You know "THE WORDS" don't you?
He was uncomfortable saying them, as were all the macho guys of his generation.
And because he was uncomfortable, I was too... at first.
But over the years, the hugs and the words came more easily, 'til finally he was the hugger, and I was the huggee...
and he freely said THE WORDS...
"I love you."
I was glad I had made him uncomfortable for a little while.
So now you know, for our family this day is important for more than bombs and battleships,
although we had family directly under the bombs on the West Virginia at Pearl, too.
I'd like you to share the importance of this day and honor my Dad by being the hugger.
Give all those you love a hug for me today, please, and say THE WORDS.
I know my old man would like that.
Happy Birthday Dad.
I love you.