My father got a letter yesterday from an old shipmate of his on the 924. When we got over there last night he was so focused on reading it that he barely looked up at the boys. He was perfectly still except his foot kept tapping. I can’t imagine what it meant to him. The 924 was the LST (Landing Ship Tank used to land troops and cargo on open beaches—-or Large Slow Target as my father says) that he served on during World War II. Growing up I don’t remember my father really talking about World War II. I remember him showing me the pennant from his ship and I think my sisters and I all wore his Navy uniform at one point or another—sometimes for Halloween. Other than that it didn’t seem to play a large role. I remember in Fifth grade when Mrs. Thomas asked everyone whose father had been in World War II to raise their hands and I was the only one. That was about the biggest impact it had one me. Now of course I realize how deeply it affected my father—-and thus I suppose the rest of the family.
My father’s heart breaks for the soldiers in the Iraq war—-he is so worried about what the experience will do to the rest of their lives….and the lives of their families. My father is a good, good man. A complicated man, a sometimes difficult man, but a loving and good man. I think he feels very alone sometimes. I’m glad he got his letter from Bert in Nevada.