Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

With all the illness that's been going around, I completely lost track of the fact that it was Veteran's Day today.  For the first time in years, we didn't go over to the cemetery to make sure that Grandpa got a flag... because for some reason, people seem to think it's funny to steal his.  He was what you might call a late casualty--he died in 1985 from stomach cancer that was a direct result of being ordered over Einwetok during the nuclear testing there in the 50s.  Let me introduce you.  :)

I think this is actually a picture of him as an Ensign.  And yeah, it's signed to my Grandma, who was his sweetheart and a war bride.  Lieutenant Commander Marvin Davies.  He served as a Naval Aviator through WWII and Korea, taught other people how to fly, and flew everything from bombers to fighters and even the first jet. He hit the up or out clause sometime after Korea due to a CO that gave everybody crappy fit reps.  He flew commercial later on, and even spent a short stint flying for the CIA. He used to joke that for a few months, he was a short, fat, tall, thin, bald-headed man with curly hair.

He never really told war stories.  He told stories of funny things that happened, one answered prayer, and how great it was to fly.  The closest he ever came to telling war stories was when I was six and asked why one of the soles of the boots he always wore was fatter than the other.  He told me that he'd been shot down during WWII and a piece of shrapnel had torn through his thigh.  And that he had been lucky in where it had hit because any higher and Dad wouldn't exist and neither would I, and he would have missed me without knowing what he was missing.

He loved flying and he loved the time he spent in uniform.  Sometimes, though, you could see it in his eyes that he was remembering something bad.  But he said once that he wouldn't change anything.  My Dad was the same--he was a late casualty, too.  He joined the Army during Vietnam, even though as an only child he could have avoided it.  He said that the absolute pride on Grandpa's face made it worth it, even though injuries received while in the service crippled him and were the eventual cause of his death in 2007.

So Grandpa and Dad, take care of each other.  We miss you.  And thanks.  Our world isn't perfect, but it's safer because of you and other vets like you. 

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