Dear Father never once did complain about his time in Korea. His medals hung over the fireplace was his pride and joy.
We watched war movies together and he sat, watched the old movies with a needed silence.
He didn't think I remembered. As a child before he quit drinking. I watched him talking to dead friends in the kitchen. The daily bottle of rum left him in a dead zone talking to men left in the Korea dirt.
Three times we loaded-up up the car. He was blind-sided drunk and he was going to California to see his soldier friend. I would go with him. We never made it to Toledo, Ohio. He would fall asleep at some rest stop. I learn later. He wanted to go to his friend's grave and to say his final goodbye.
Old dad was hard. Worked hard, five wives and eleven kids. He told me often. Don't be like me. Get educated and stay away from war.
I re-joined in 1991 to go to war. He took me to the airport and I saw in his face. The sadness of me leaving for war. His eyes heavy with sadness. He knew I would learn what war was.
Today I'm the old man. Father's rum killed him at 61 years old. I learned my father burden. I'm the old Soldier who go early to the Memorial day celebration yearly. Me and the old-timers stand together talking to friends lost to war. We tell our old friends about their children. We tell them, we miss their bad jokes and laughter. The War world two vets are the wisest. They tell us kids. We are the left-overs. We must remember friend gone and ensure these men lives were fought for good reasons. Never allow freedom to be lost.
USA is my home. Time to celebrate freedom. The USA is still the place where a man or a woman can succeed with hard work and effort. Many cultures live together without violence and we do our best to get along. Freedom had cost a lot. Many good men and women died so we can be free. The old wars were fought for us to know freedom and chance.
My father never complained. He loved the USA. He stood for the right things.