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Friday, September 12, 2014

Dad Fought at What Cost

My Dad was a Navy Vet of WWII and Korea.  During the big war he was a medic attached to the Marines.  He saw more action than any person should have ever see in one lifetime.  He saw men blown apart, wounded beyond what he could ever repair, and men that he could do nothing for because they were already gone.  He served his boys, his Marines as best he could with what little he had.  That was his job.  He did it and survived for the most part.

Prior to each battle he was the most popular guy among his Marines.  Everyone hoped that he would remember their face if they got hit.  On leave he could never buy a beer.  His Marines would not let him.  He was their Doc and they took care of him hoping that he would take care of them if needed.

Dad was injured on Iwo Jima.  Shrapnel blew through the meat in his leg.  The Doc ended up being evacuated and patched up.  Dad returned to duty with his Marines just before the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Everyone thought they were going home after Japan surrendered unconditionally.  Not the case for medics all across the Pacific.

America bombed Japan with nukes and that ended the war.  The human price to win that war demanded an American humanitarian effort to help the people that survived the nukes.  Radiation poisoning was everywhere in the region of the two cites nuked.  The fallout from the bombs followed the winds.

Dad went in with medics from the Navy into Nagasaki.  Not one single man had any clue what had happened there.  All they knew was that their orders were to help the civilian population and treat them as best they could.

Can you imagine walking into Three Mile Island or Chernobyl with no knowledge or protection from radiation other than some rubber suits and boots that had to be burned after every shift?  That is what I understand my father did in Nagasaki.  End of shift, go sleep a few miles away but make sure them rubber suits and boots were burned.

Move forward to 2014.  My Dad had a great life after the war.  Married a beautiful girl that I called Mom.  Ended up with seven kids, four boys and three daughters.  Good times, bad times, he went to school on the GI Bill and raised a family.  His health for most of his life was amazing.  His wife and family not so much as the years passed.

Mom developed heart disease along with the beginning stages of dementia .  After years of a weak heart she passed at the ripe old age of 61 in her sleep.  The smile on her face told us all many things.  She was cool with her maker.  She was a very religious woman.  Not a church goer, but a scholar of religious thoughts and teachings.  She loved Jesus as much as she loved her own but she never thought the bible was his teachings entirely.  That is another story for another day. 

Dad developed dementia and eventually Alzheimer's and passed at 76.  He never recovered from Mom's passing.

Oldest son went nuts in a fantasy world and is missing in action.  Next oldest son is slowly losing touch with reality and hasn't worked in ten plus years.  Oldest daughter is for all points and purposes of discussion no longer with us in this world.  I miss her.  We used to talk every single day.  All her life she had one arm that would shake uncontrollably but she managed to raise a family.  Second oldest daughter became a Republican from a lifetime of growing up in an extreme liberal and democrat household.  The third son has had cancer four times and beat it each time.  His mind is still intact thank God.  I'm typing my little fingers off and you can say I am nuts but I am just fine except for the nervous condition called OPCA.  My baby sis is fine on all fronts as far as I know.

Question in the back of my mind is if the service my father gave to his country on Nagasaki, Japan has had a genetic effect on each of his children?  I'm pretty sure it has.  What scares me most is if it will effect my five baby girls and the children they might have?  I hope not but I do not know.

I don't know the answer to that.  I can only hope that I do not become a Republican.


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