I don't have many pictures of my dad in uniform, but he did serve in the Navy. Back in the day, he even lied about his age to enlist sooner. I don't know how he accomplished that, but he did. There were even arguments amongst family members when my dad died, because no one could agree on how old he actually was or what year he was actually born. I think my mother finally produced a birth certificate with the information, but my aunt argued that my dad had falsified that somehow. Hmm. All speculation.
He spent a lot of time in Japan and gave lots of gifts to his family from there. He gave his mother a set of china that she used as everyday dishes for decades. He gave a beautiful lacquered jewelry/music box to his sister. He gave another family member a lacquered photo album ... which the recipient never put a single picture into ... these items all ended up in my possession. I gave the china to my brother to remember his dad. I sold the jewelry box on eBay. I still have the empty photo album.
What does all this even mean?
Simply, that I miss my dad. I appreciate the service he gave to his country. He was the most patriotic man I knew. If he had a grave, I would plant a flag next to it today. But his ashes were spread out along the Puget Sound ... after years of sitting in a box in the top of my brother's closet. My brother used to hold the box over the toilet and threaten to flush him. My brother really struggled with the death of my father. He's better now. My dad has been gone for 17 1/2 years. I miss his bushy mustache and his genuine smile and the smell of his cigars.
Here's his favorite song, which was played at his funeral:
Happy Veterans' Day, Dad.