ĎThatís Not Dad To Meí
by Roger Young
my father passed away. When loved ones die we look for
material souvenirs to keep close by to remind us of departed loved
ones; photos, personal effects, and even clothing. Clothing,
besides having practical value, is a display of identity, a method
of expressing what a person is about either in a subtle or very
This may explain at least part of my dear motherís thinking when
she offered me my fatherís World War II Army dress uniform shirt
to take home as a memento. Not sure how to refuse the offer
without offending her, I responded by saying, ďThatís not Dad to
remembered another shirt of Dadís Iíve kept for some time that reminds
me of far more important accomplishments of my fatherís life.
When my siblings and I were still quite young we were fortunate
to go on several cross-country road trips, primarily during summer
vacation. One year, my mother outfitted the entire family
in identical red and blue patterned shirts to identify us to others
as a tight knit clan of travelers or maybe just to make it
easier to keep track of her precocious
kids. I possess the only surviving shirt (we kids quickly
outgrew ours) of that wonderful time forty plus years ago.
It happens to be my fatherís copy and it represents to me the essential
character of what my father was really about.
state is always trying to tag us with an identity political
affiliation, victim group, race convenient labels to group
and track us. Individuality is despised and the state gets
confused and sometimes even hostile when those they assign to a
particular group do not exhibit the monolithic group-think expected
of them. Yes, my father once wore the uniform of the state
but it certainly wasnít worn voluntarily and most definitely did
not represent a direction he had chosen for himself. It merely
represents a necessary detour along his lifeís path. Whether
that path was necessary or not is a subject for another discussion.
was not interested in keeping my fatherís Army uniform shirt because
it reminds me how my father was hijacked from his home and loved
ones (including a young wife that would become my mother).
He was conscripted by a warring state a state that had failed,
as it always does, to preserve peace. The elite and powerful
had determined FDRís rampage to ďsaveĒ Europe was far more important
than my fatherís trivial pursuit of individual fulfillment.
The state was not interested in my fatherís wonderful personal qualities
that made him a unique child of God but only as another faceless
piece of cannon fodder to throw at an enemy.
father was pursuing the peaceful profession of pharmacy when he
was drafted into the U.S. Army. His masters promised he could
continue to attend pharmacy school while in the service. But
it wasnít long before they threw a B.A.R
around his neck and sent him to France where he took a German sniperís
bullet through the arm. While I was growing up he rarely talked
about the war, usually only when prodded with a question from his
curious children. Sometimes, while watching a television program
about the war he might volunteer information from his personal experiences.
Whatever pride he may have had in his service he kept to himself.
Sure, he would march with the Am-Vet color guard in our little townís
Memorial Day Parade (then called Decoration Day). And he would
fire his rifle for the traditional 21-gun salute. But, thankfully,
he never was one of those pathetic old men with a veteranís cap,
squeezed into his old Army uniform, strutting and sticking his chest
out like a male
grackle in heat. I never got the impression he viewed
his time in the war as a glorious episode in his life, but rather
a necessary task he was given (forced) to do. The only positive
characteristic the Army shirt represents to me is that my father
had the guts and resoluteness, along with the blessing of Godís
mercy, to survive a difficult, horrendous experience. I am
certainly thankful for this fact but I extend absolutely no gratitude
to the monstrous state who put him in that situation.
the red and blue shirt represents the man whose natural motivation
in life was to start and raise a family. It reminds me of
his positive ambition of creating a successful business that provided
for that family. Iím reminded of all the wonderful traveling
adventures throughout the American west and elsewhere. This
traveling gave us lessons about life that could never be taught
in a conventional school classroom. Memories of these trips
are vivid, even decades later and planted in me a seed of wanderlust
that seems to germinate about every fifteen or twenty years.
My fatherís natural drive in life was to create and cultivate, not
the stateís perverted mindset to attack and destroy.
several months of painful suffering, my father is at peace now.
My guess is his soul is content with a job well done. All
the accomplishments that make up his 81-year legacy is embodied
in the lives of his children and grandchildren. Their challenge
is to duplicate and even surpass his feats. Iíll always have
that raggedy, worn shirt to remind me of his vitality, giving spirit,
and calming influence. That shirt, colored with precious,
positive memories, is one uniform worth preserving.
Young [send him mail]
is a freelance photographer in Texas and maintains a website called
© 2005 LewRockwell.com