I lost my Dad this week. That's so hard to say. He was a gentle soul whom everyone loved. And he was humble. So humble in fact that it wasn't until after the attacks of September 11 that he was able to tell me the story of how he came to deliver supporting troops to the Ludendorff Bridge in Remagen, Germany to protect it from being destroyed by the enemy during the Battle of the Bulge.
He was in the 563rd AAA AW BN and drove, maintained, repaired, and operated an M16 Halftrack. He was only 20 years old when this was taken in Germany in 1945.
He was very proud of the fact that out of 800 men in his division just 4 lives were lost. That's 4 too many and he was deeply touched by it.
On the day he arrived home from WWII his buddies helped him celebrate. Dad is the second in from the right.
He was a very handsome man and my sister and I often joke that Adam Levine of Maroon 5 looks like him.
I was his first born and a real "Daddy's Girl". I loved to greet him squealing and laughing when he came home from work, ready to give him a juicy kiss. And he always took such good care of me, teaching me by his example to be kind and loving.
When it was my turn to take care of him I found a wonderful assisted living nearby so I could visit him often during the week. He always greeted me with, "What are you doing here?" We would go to lunch, sit by the river and watch the boaters, or just sneak out for an ice cream in the good weather.
On occasion when I went to visit he wouldn't be home. He was out fishing or at the driving range, both things I have never known him to do! He had a full social schedule at Ingersoll Place!
Last year I was able to make arrangements for our Congressman Paul Tonko to present Dad with a special recognition for his service in the European Campaigns. All through the ceremony Dad would lean over to me and ask why they were making such a fuss over him.
There was my humble Dad again.
I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to give him the last 17 months where he was shown so much love and respect.
It was the least I could do after all he did for me. I'm going to miss you so much Daddy!
I'll always love you. And save me a beer!