#418: In Memory of Dad & Other Veterans
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
On November 10th, 1976, I was asleep in my apartment in Chicago, Illinois, warm beneath the blankets against the chill of the fall night. I worked as a member of an in-flight crew for an airline company and was scheduled for a flight at 0600 the next morning.
At 10 minutes before midnight the telephone rang. I expected to it to be the crew scheduler telling me my flight had been changed.
I wasn't prepared to hear my brother-in-law Wayne tell me Mom had called him and my sister to say Dad had been taken to an Orlando, Florida, hospital emergency room with a heart attack.
Worried with the fear we never want to face, I sat waiting nervously for an update. At 1:30 a.m. Wayne called back to tell me Dad didn't make it. He was only 48 years old. I managed to call and alert the crew scheduler to the situation and to request an emergency leave pass. There were no flights to Florida until the next morning so I packed and waited as pain gripped my heart and tears poured down my face.
Until that day I had never suffered the loss of a family member and was numb as I flew to Atlanta then on to Orlando. I remember the politeness and concern shown me by the flight attendants and the sympathy they expressed. And I recall the feeling of emptiness as I endured the long wait for the connecting flight.
Dad had spent 23 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a full lieutenant after serving during World War II and around the world. If he had to die, that he did so on Veteran's Day, November 11th, seemed appropriate.
As we prepare to honor military veterans past and present on Veteran's day, 2010, let's give thanks for their dedication and service to our country and for their honor and selflessness in trying to further the cause of freedom.
My dad. RIP. We love you and miss you.