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Old 08-06-2018, 08:04 PM
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Default Carried the Old Guy's gun last week.



He had the fortune/misfortune to be born in 1924. When he was seven his parents couldn't feed him anymore and sent him to live with relatives he didn't know, on a train, with a note on his coat. (I didn't let my kids walk to school without an armed guard (me).)

When he was 17, the world exploded. I had to get his discharge papers to set up his funeral, and his previous occupation is listed as "High School Student". He volunteered for the Army Air Corps, because he didn't want to sleep in the dirt. His papers showed four bronze battle stars: Rome ARNO, No Appennines, PO Valley, and Southern France. Then the usual Army stuff, no big medals. He told me his finest military achievement was finding a forgotten warehouse full of mattresses, in which he constructed a perfect hideaway where he could sleep undetected.

He drove trucks full of bombs to planes, never shot at anyone, and saw friends die when their trucks exploded. He was 5' 4" tall, and spent his time when not driving or sleeping desperately trying to avoid getting retrained as a ball-turret gunner.

His Dad (my Grandpa) died at 52, while my Dad was in Italy. He got a telegram from the Red Cross, and then he went back to work.

At the end of the of war he guarded thousands of German POWs with a carbine and 15 rounds. He said he felt bad for them. He was in a truck with a bunch of them and they drove past a marshaling yard where hundreds and hundreds of brand-new unused US Army vehicles were parked. At this point, the Germans were using horse-drawn carts to move stuff. The POWs just started crying. He was a tough old guy, but years later that still got to him.



Then we won. He was headed to Japan with everyone else when we won that one, too.

He came home, finished high school, got married, and had seven kids, of which I was the sixth.

He worked two jobs to give us Christmas, buried his Mom, brothers, wife, and one kid - my brother.

He would never buy himself anything good, hence the Rossi. The pawn shop guy told him it was as good as a Smith and it was cheaper.

He made it to 93. If he would have known what the last few years would be like, he would have put the Rossi to use.

So when he died I had him cremated and called the VA about burying him.

The VA may catch a lot of flak these days about medical care, but once you die they really have their stuff together. They were a joy to work with. My Mom died 12 years ago, and has been hanging out in her urn at my sister's house on a mantle under a stuffed elk head. It was no problem arranging for them both to be buried in the National Cemetery in Santa Fe.

I pushed the service back six weeks so anyone who wanted to come could make plans. It was very nice - if you haven't been to a National Cemetery and are considering using one, go look. The one's I've seen are extraordinarily well-maintained and the staff are first-rate folks.

The day came and I adopted a don't ask/don't tell attitude toward the carrying of arms in the place. I considered a period-correct Victory Model, but opted for the little Rossi instead. And you know what, it actually is a pretty good little gun.

I would urge anyone who has earned the privilege of burial in a National Cemetery to consider it. I am not religious and didn't really care about where my corpse or ashes reposed until I began visiting National Cemeteries to prep for my Dad's service. The minute I saw one, I said: Yep, this will do.

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Old 08-06-2018, 08:09 PM
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A fine tribute, Sig. Truly.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:14 PM
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As I type this I am sitting in a trauma bay in the ER with my dad. He is a WWII Navy vet. He has alszhiemers and is in poor health. Your father and mine have several things in common.
You wrote a fine tribute for your father. My condolences for your loss.

Last edited by loc n load; 08-06-2018 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:17 PM
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What a fine tribute,Thanks..
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:25 PM
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I am sorry for your loss; may he Rest In Peace.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:25 PM
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I always try to remember the people of this era and what they when through and did so that we could live the privileged life we live.

Bless them all. My stepfather, my uncles, the MEN I have known and those I hear about.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:30 PM
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Sorry for the loss of your dad.

Yours and mine might have been in the same area of Italy.
Unfortunately, I didn't ask exactly where dad served before he
died. Dad made oxygen for the bomber crews where he was stationed.
Then was detached, across the airfield, where he
kept books for an 80 man unit. Dad had taken typing in high school because a girl he liked was in the class.

Dad left two guns. A Model 12 Winchester and a sporterized 8mm
Mauser. A bit long and heavy to carry to his service.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:31 PM
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A very fine tribute. My own dad was of that generation. They sure had a lot of hard bark on them. Thank goodness.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:37 PM
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A moving tribute. Your dad would be proud.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:39 PM
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Very moving. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:49 PM
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Thanks for sharing such a very warm, touching and poignant story. They’re no longer building many men like your dad. RIP
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:57 PM
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You never get through missing them. Well done.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:58 PM
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Beautiful. Misty over this...
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:10 PM
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...great tribute to your Dad...

...my Dad and Mom are buried in Ft. Logan National Cemetery...
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:33 PM
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My dad was a WW II Navy vet. His and my mom's ashes are sprinkled on Big Ridge, outside of Winchester VA, near the house that they built.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:33 PM
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Just buried my last Uncle today, so this really hits home.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:49 PM
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What a wonderful tribute. You will never know how close you came to describing my father. the best description I could give of him is just 2 words, "he gave". Not only to his family but anyone that was remotely known to him. They don't make men like our fathers any more. I try to follow in his footsteps but fall way short.

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Old 08-06-2018, 09:56 PM
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sigp220.45 - that was awesome - I'm happy for you that you had your Dad around for such a long time -
Peace be with you, and with your Dad's loving spirit.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:56 PM
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Your pride in your Father is well deserved, and it shows in your tribute. Thank you and him for your service. God Bless.
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:03 PM
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Plus One for the National Cemeteries. My Son-in-Law is a disabled vet, qualifies for the National Cemetery but my daughter, his wife, died of cancer at 43 and he is seriously considering being buried elsewhere because my daughters name faces forward. If he were buried there, his name would face forward and he does not want to change the current conditions. The Arlington Texas National Cemetery is beautiful.
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:28 PM
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Truly, another example of America's Greatest Generation......RIP sir and thank you for your service to our country...
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:29 PM
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Beautifully penned.
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:01 AM
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Thank you for sharing this tribute to your father.

FWIW, the VA does a pretty nice job of assisting with the funeral of a vet that isn't being interred at a national cemetery as well.

My uncle, a Vietnam vet, passed a couple of years ago and they sent a nice Honor Guard to give him a 21 gun salute, and flag folding ceremony, even though he was being buried at a small private cemetery.
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:40 AM
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Pretty Danged hard to like this post. Those of us that are Boomers, either have or are going through this final adventure of our parents and it strikes a real nerve. Your eloquence is, perhaps, the greatest tribute your father could ask for. The way that your helped your Dad to the boarding gate says a lot for his, and your mother's parenting skills. You should be proud and I am guessing he was equally proud of you. So, while a sad occasion and therefore not something I can "like". Your conduct is deserving something way better than a simple "like" Maybe, when he got off the boat, my Dad (also a WW2 Army Air Corps vet) was there, in the honor guard, to greet him!
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:55 AM
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Some Americans and Emigrants the we are entitled to "2 cars in every garage and a chicken in every pot", but men like our dads worked to provide for us and often worked 2 jobs!

My dad taught me to work and sometimes that meant a full time and 2 part-time jobs so my wife could be home for the kids. Now I see my three sons that have kids all doing the same!

The tribute to our dads is that we not only learned what they taught us, but we passed it on to the next generation!

Ivan
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:17 AM
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A beautiful tribute to your father. My father is buried at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta Michigan.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:01 AM
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I could write a story with a lot of similarities about my own father,a Seabee in the S Pacific,now gone 20 years. He's at Calverton National Cemetery.
My mother,now gone 20 months, qualified to be there too, not simply because she was his wife, but she chose to be at a family plot instead.She was his Navy nurse upon his return.

Last edited by Camster; 08-07-2018 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:24 PM
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That is a beautiful homage to your father. You are blessed to have been raised by such a man. Yes, you got to carry his gun but sadly many today would be sorely pressed to carry his jockstrap, the Greatest Generation was truly that...
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:59 PM
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The Greatest Generation. They truly are.
Thank you
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:15 PM
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My condolences on your loss. Your tribute to your father was admirable and fitting. My dad flew B-25s, B-17s, and B-29s during the war, and we lost him in 1999. He chose not to be buried in a National Cemetery, so my mother's spot is waiting next to her. My brother and I can't think of anyplace better for us than a National Cemetery when the time comes.

Thank you.
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:16 PM
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Well written, sir. It's hard for me to imagine my children writing about me in such a fashion, as nice as it would be.
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:25 PM
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Through my blurry eyes about all I can get out is how honorable it is of you to share with us. Thank You
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:36 PM
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Very nice tribute to a Vet. You write like He taught You well. My Dad was on Iwo Jima in the waning days and near the beginning of Okinawa. Never talked about it except to answer My question about a Japanese bayonet He had. Said " I took it off a dead Jap. " Both parents are in Ft Logan and I was told that up to three can be in the same grave so My Mom will be with Her two Vets when I go.
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:13 PM
Joe Kent Joe Kent is offline
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Sigp220.45, I am very sorry for your loss. Your Dad and mine were the same age. Mine has been gone for a little over two years. We were both lucky to have them as long as we did. Again my sincere condolences for your loss. They were truly part of the greatest generation. All my very best, Joe.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:28 PM
Zarr Zarr is offline
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My condolences on your loss. God Bless you both.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:11 PM
31FordA 31FordA is offline
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I am sorry for your loss. That was a truly outstanding tribute to your dad.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:45 PM
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federali federali is offline
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Default Great story

With all respects to your late father.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:11 AM
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I think the word "wonderful" covers a lot of ground here. RIP
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