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Happy Veteran’s Day

November 11th, 2007 Posted in Support the Troops

My dad fought in Korea. He was UDT, that’s Underwater Demolitions Tech for those who don’t know; years later they were renamed and called SEALS. Yep, my dad was part of that. He doesn’t talk about his military time much. I know he was launched out of torpedo tubes because it was the best way to get them close to the enemies shoreline without being detected. The sub would sneak in as close as it could get and then my dads team would be loaded in the tubes and shot so they could swim to whatever it was they had to blow up.

When I was a kid he taught me how to fight because I was small and was being picked on. He taught me to have the courage to do what was right and he held me accountable when I did something wrong. He even did the whole drug talk with me, it was one sentence long: “I catch you doing drugs and I will drive your ass to jail myself.” It worked, I never did drugs.  I don’t know when I became interested in knives, but for my birthday when I was about 13 my dad got me my first knife, a 12” Bowie knife. I still have it today. He also got me my first throwing knives and took me out to the shed and taught me how to do an overhand, underhand, and sidearm throw. 

When I wanted to do martial arts, my dad was the one who sat there during the belt test grinning the most when I did well. One belt testing, when I was 16 or 17, I had to spar with another person my level. Well, the guy I was sparring was so nervous (or something) that he came at me full force and full power even though it was supposed to be half speed, half power. I started off by just blocking and avoiding his strikes, but he took a kick to my knee and I finally hit him with a kick that knocked the wind out of him and put him down. It was the only strike I did the whole fight.   Out of the corner of my eye I could see my dad was the proudest man in the whole building. Not because I had knocked the guy out, but because he knew I could take care of myself. He could now stop worrying about his youngest, hot-headed son getting in something too deep to get out of. He was proud of me and that was even better than getting my brown belt. 

When he took me to see ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ when I was 15 because I couldn’t drive yet I knew he was the coolest dad ever because he really wanted to see it too. We got popcorn and sodas and I was amazed at the bullwhip work I saw, I had never seen a whip used that way and it just grabbed me. As we were leaving and I was going on about how cool the movie and the bullwhip was Dad looked at me and said “You want to learn how to use one?” that’s when I found out my dad knew how to use one, and that week he started teaching me. I knew after that my dad could do anything.  I joined the Navy because of my dad.

I wanted to be like him so off I went on one of the greatest adventures a kid whose 18 and the youngest in the family could ever have. I didn’t go SEALS (manly because unlike dad, I’m a lousy swimmer) but I did get to work the flight deck and I did see some things that your average person will never, ever see at all. Some were good, some were terrible and all are unforgettable.  

Dad taught me to shoot, to tie knots, and he believed in me so much that whatever crazy idea I had he was always there giving me the support to chase after it. When I decided to quit my job (where I was making a very good salary) and go to Art College all he asked was: “Is this what you really want to do?” Once we were off the phone he looked at my mom and said “What can we do to help him out?” 

In College my car finally started to go the way of all things. I figured I had to just live with it and that was all there was to it but I was on the phone with my parents one day when out of the blue Dad says, “So how is that car of your running?” I told him the truth. “Needs some transmission work and I think one of the seals needs replacing.” 

“Son, your car isn’t worth the cost of repairs. You go get a new one” Well, we both know I couldn’t afford a new car and I said so and that’s when dad surprised me yet again. He and Mom sent me the money to get a new car. Nothing fancy, just enough of a car to get me through school, but it was new and it didn’t need a new transmission or new seals.

Now I’m off in grad school in a place that is expensive, living in a small apartment, working part time and doing school full time.  I call my parents every week or so to talk and let them know what is going on and every time my dad asks the same question: “Are you happy?” 

Yea, dad, I’m happy, and I have you and mom to thank for it.  Thank you for teaching me that it’s more important to be happy with who I am than for other people to be happy with me.  That freedom is better than security and that if you believe in something hard enough you can make it come true. 

The funny part is, I know my dad doesn’t really understand me like he wants too. I’m on the far end of geeky weird and my dad is a cowboy. There are levels where we connect and understand each other, but there is also that part that I wonder at times if we will ever be able to connect.  

I guess it doesn’t really matter though. He’s my dad, he’s a veteran, and he’s my hero. Happy Veterans day, Dad. I love you.

One Response to “Happy Veteran’s Day”

  1. Jennifer (aka MeezerMama) Says:

    Happy Veteran’s Day Instinct.

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