Monday, May 27, 2013

On This Day We Remember

Memorial Day - hailed as the beginning of summer. 

Today is marked with picnics, grilling outdoors, and treks to the family cemetery to honor those who served their country. American flags are prominently displayed all over town and in the cemetery where my father is buried, the veterans of Buchanan County have placed flags on all of the veterans' graves.

My father has one of those flags on his grave because he was a WWII Army Veteran.
Frank H. Davis
Growing up, I knew my daddy was a WWII veteran. The scar on his hand that wrapped around his wrist was evident. This was the result of the first time he was wounded.  Even more prominent was his limp from the metal plate in his ankle. This was from the second time he was wounded, and this one got him sent home after spending a month in an overseas hospital. By the time he was nineteen he had been wounded twice.

I remember vividly the first time I saw his Purple Heart. I was a little girl, and my mother was cleaning out a chest of drawers. She pulled it out and showed it to me and my younger brother. I wasn't old enough to know exactly what it stood for, but I knew that it was somehow sacred - that it was something my father had earned while in the war. It would be many years before I knew exactly what it stood for.
My father is kneeling at left. He has a cigarette in one hand and a black eye. I asked him once how he got it and he said he didn't remember but he bet "he gave as good as he got."
My father served in the US Army Third Infantry Division European Campaign. For his service he earned the Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster and two bronze service stars. He never talked about the war and when he was asked his standard answer was, "I don't remember." But often bits of information would seep into the conversation, like the day he was watching the movie "Patton" and made the remark, "He was a bigger SOB than anybody knew." I asked, "How do you know?" And he said in a matter-of-fact voice, "I drove that SOB all over Europe."

From what I could gather, my father was assigned to the vehicle garage as a driver and one night he ended up taking a jeep to General Patton who liked his driving, so my dad ended up as his personal driver for a while. He was also fond of saying it was the Infantry that "broke Hitler's back" not Patton's tanks.

On this Memorial Day, I remember my father, the man who was a WWII veteran and so much more. He was a loving father and grandfather.

He was a bus driver and coal miner and he loved to put out a garden.
Daddy would work second or third shift at the  mines and then come to my house where he put out a big garden, still wearing his mining clothes.

And he loved a good cigar after a meal.

On this Memorial Day, I salute my father, Frank H. Davis for his service to his country. I am honored to be his daughter.

1 comment:

  1. Your dad sounds like quite a man! My parents were too young to fight in the war but my grandparents were in the middle of it. Horrible! I can't think when our memorial day is though; it ought to be in May because that's when we were liberated but I must look it up.