4/16/2008

My Father in WWII





I have always greatly admired the men and women who fought and participated in the Greatest Generation’s War, World War II. Hitler was a menace who had to be stopped at all cost. I’ve watched Saving Private Ryan countless times. I’ve watched the series Band of Brothers countless times as well. I was greatly moved by both.

My father also participated in WWII as a gunner’s mate in the U.S. Navy. He often bragged about being on one of the ships at the Invasion of Normandy. And that is what always made me suspicious about my father and his actual exploits in the war. He told the story, at great length, about being on a ship with dead men all around. He further described being washed in blood during battles. But, the problem was that my father was a known liar. Even my poor mother, who had utter contempt for him for as long as I could remember, would take up for him in his heroism in WWII. My grandmother (his mother) always took great pride in him for that accomplishment in his life. She would often look over the fact he was a drunk and abused his wife and children, both verbally and physically.

Whenever I would bring the fact my father is a liar and you had to really take his WWII accomplishments with a grain of salt, I was quickly and firmly told that despite whatever I may think of my father, he is being honest in regard to WWII service. The one thing that always puzzled me is that my father mentioned in one of his stories he had been wounded. Being the braggart he was, he would have naturally shown off his Purple Heart that all men wounded in action receive during war. He never did that. So, I continued with my doubts in silence.

Three years ago, my father passed away. I’m not going to say I was sad or relieved he died. I had no feelings for him for reasons that I won’t go into in this blog entry. In January of this year, I decided to contact the VA and get his military records which were my right as his son. I got his military records two weeks ago. As I had suspected, my father never was at Normandy. In fact, he never participated in the European Campaign. Furthermore, as I suspected, he had not been wounded. There was no mention of any medals other than the customary good conduct award and service time during war awards that everyone got during a war. My father’s time during the war was served on a supply ship in the Pacific and if he saw any action, it was not noted in his military records.

I am not going to say I am filled with satisfaction I was right all these years. I feel bad that this liar fooled so many people, including my beloved mother. But, I do feel justified in proving, at least in my own mind, I was right all along.

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