I am not one who makes a big deal of the birthday of a deceased person or the date of their death. Most of the time, those dates come and go with barely a recollection. I think some of it is that my own parents didn't mention those times and they themselves died at relatively young ages. My father died at age 53 of ALS and my mother died at age 61 of cancer. By age 35, I no longer had living parents, and I am an only child. Family ties were mostly gone.
Here is my father in 1944, the year I was born, looking so very very young out in Washington State. Until his Army training he had never been outside of Pennsylvania. So much changed in a year when he went to Europe in the mop up after Normandy. I wish I had had a chance to know that happier young man.
Today would have been my father's 92nd birthday. It comes to mind
more often now as I see the obituary of one more of his fellow WWII
veterans. Bit by bit they are leaving us, and even my father's records were destroyed in the fire at the VA records center in St. Louis. On our recent trip to CA, a priest mentioned that he was at
the wake of one of these men, and very very few of his peers were still
living. This is almost 40 years since my father died. He missed so much of his life and I missed so much of him.
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