Today is Memorial Day. It was pointed out last week that the holiday is designated for those who died in service. My family has been in the United States for only 100 years, and both of our American veterans survived the wars in which they fought, so I hope I’m excused for the next few paragraphs here. I’ll justify them by saying that due to the injuries received, as well as the smoking habit he picked up while serving, my father’s quality of life suffered. Since I’m the only one of my siblings nearby, I have the honor of helping my mom take care of the gravesites of my dad and paternal grandparents. This past week I went with my mother to spruce things up and pay my respects.
I wrote a tribute to my dad about six years ago. You can read the entire post HERE, but I want to share with you a little something about him. During the Korean Conflict he was wounded more than once, and in one battle he was shot in both legs, resulting in difficulties walking at times. After his death we found a copy of a letter he’d sent to a comrade describing the battle, and I found his thoughts consistent with what he did every day of his life. Despite hardships, he was able to go on because he was able to let go and press on.
“I don’t think about it very often and I don’t let it bother me. I just think of it as another occurrence of the past and let it go at that, even though I am reminded of it constantly because of the leg problems. I am just glad that I had the chance to prove to myself what I would do in combat.”
I hope I’ve learned from his example: let go of bad times, be content with what is, and continue to do what I know is right.
How will I observe the holiday? Our kids and grandkids have plans, so they visited earlier in the weekend. It’s going to be a quiet day so I plan to do some reading. I’m making steady progress toward my goal of reading and reviewing 50 books this year! Last month I named four books I wanted to read this month, and I read three of them – but I read one one that wasn’t on the list! Here’s what I read (click on the book covers to read my reviews on Goodreads):
After the Final Dandelion by Brooke Williams. This was the third book in Brooke’s light-hearted Dandelion series based on reality dating shows like the Bachelor and the Bachelorette. It ends with a wedding, and the bride definitely has more than her share of mishaps along the way to the altar! I’ve never thought of myself as a control freak but I don’t think I could have let go of all the wedding decisions the way Renee Lockhart did!
Heartsent by Kay Springsteen. Kay has a knack for drawing you into her stories by appealing to your emotions. Heartsent is the second of a six-book series, and I loved this story just as much as Heartsight, the first one. Both Kevin and Lina are firefighters, which lends itself to intense scenes. The hero is heroic, the heroine is strong but wounded, and their journey toward happiness is magical, yet totally believable.
Camp Wedding: the Heartsight Nuptials by Kay Springsteen. This is a continuation of Book One of Kay’s heart series. Marine Lt. Dan Conway and artist Evers prepare for their wedding, and the preparations are complicated – her wedding dress doesn’t fit, the recent hurricane has delayed the opening of their bed and breakfast, their marriage license goes missing, and Trish needs to meet her future in-laws. What else could go wrong?
Knight Defender by Rue Allyn. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a medieval romance. Rue is a member of my local RWA chapter and she let me read an ARC of this in exchange for a review. I really enjoyed this book set in Scotland (gotta love a man in a kilt!). Rue was a guest here at Four Foxes a few weeks ago sharing a bit about herself and her writing.
For next month, I plan to read these books, all by people I know personally:
The Pilot by Diane Burton. Like Rue Allyn, Diane is a member of my local RWA chapter and has made a name for herself with her science fiction romances. In each one I’ve read, the romance takes the forefront and the outer space setting is secondary. The Pilot is the first book in her Outer Rim series, and I’m looking forward to reading it!
Love’s Destiny by Elizabeth Meyette. Elizabeth is yet another member of my local RWA chapter, and she writes historical novels set during the American Revolution. She and I roomed together at the recent MMRWA retreat and we exchanged books. Since I’m a history buff I can’t wait to dig into this one!
Duke by Day, Rogue by Night by Katherine Bone. This is the one book from last month’s list that I didn’t manage to read. I’m hoping that my writing deadlines don’t prevent me from reading it this month! There are five books in this series, so I’d better get going or I’ll never get them read!
That’s all I’m going to plan on reading this month! All the things I usually do on Mondays (Weight Watchers, chiropractor appointment, band rehearsal) are canceled due to the holiday. The kids and some grandkids came to visit yesterday, so my day is clear for reading. Whatever your holiday plans are, stay safe!
thank you for sharing that excerpt from your father’s letter about his combat experience.
I believe that is at the heart of nearly every man — wondering how he would measure up if placed in harm’s way. My own father and F-I-L, though both served during WW2, were not in actual combat… though they were in harm’s way, of course. Heck, just crossing the oceans during wartime was hazardous. Both were trained and prepared (as much as one can be) and I believe both would have behaved honorably.
In my own military service, though I was enlisted during the Vietnam conflict, I never faced combat (and was never even in a combat zone). So I have still wondered how I’d stack up when the chips were down. When I told my father that I thought about that, he said every man does… and he assured me that I would have done my duty. I’m not quite so positive, but I want to believe that I would.
Your father did… and he proved it.
I have to agree with your father. You knew when you enlisted that there was every possibility you would engage in combat at some point. It was simply the luck of the draw that you didn’t.
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For the 50th anniv of V-E day (5-8-95), I gave my dad a framed display with his ETO ribbon, a dog tag, his cap service emblem, and his Lt. bars. Also a write-up which detailed his years of training (incl. OTS) to be a leader of a mortar platoon in the Army infantry.
He landed in Europe on V-E day.
After reading my write-up, he observed that it made him sound “heroic” and demurred that he didn’t view it that way.
I replied that it WAS heroic, because he went through all that training during the worst of the wartime battles and losses… with the full expectation that he was heading right into it.
As I have mentioned before,your father was certainly a handsome man! I cannot imagine what Japanese-Americans went through with the internment camps; it was all so wrong.I may have also mentioned this, but when I lived in Colorado, they only had one statue of a prominent citizen from the state in the Capitol Hall of Statues in D.C. from Co, but each state is allowed two. They took a pol and I voted for Gov.Carr, who had refused to inter his citizens of Japanese descent.
You are a prolific writer! I will have to catch up with more of your works.
Governor Carr sounds like a hero! I’ll have to do some research on him. My dad and his family were fortunate that the local authorities vouched for the family so they were allowed to stay in their home.
Those of us who aren’t in the service, never really understand how and for how long the experience affects them, either through physical health or mental and emotional health. Our veterans deserve the most respect and the best care we can give them. Even though my dad did not see combat during WWII, he wrote about his experiences. Bringing up those memories and writing them brought out physical pain and triggered a case of the shingles.
Great job on your reading! Looks like you have some good stuff on your TBR pile.
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Thanks, Joselyn! A lot of these are books I’ve been asked to read and review. I’m finding myself reading while eating, while waiting in doctor’s offices, and while babysitting!
I agree, memories of stressful times are things most people don’t want to revisit.