My Inspiration To Endure

There019I share half of my father's DNA and none of his political views. He's somewhere to the right of Rush Limbaugh, and yet we can civilly occupy a room together. He spends the requisite time asking me when I plan to chisel the Obama sticker off the minivan while I try my best to make sure my eyes don't get stuck "like that"--in that permanently rolled back position.

Politics aside, we have a lot in common. And he'd do anything in the world for me. He has. He continues to. He'd do anything in the world for his country. And he has. He enlisted in the Navy knowing he'd go to Vietnam. He didn't wait to be drafted. He was the only son in a fatherless family, having lost his dad at an early age. He chose to serve as soon as he graduated high school.

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In the forty years I've know my father, he's told maybe 3 short stories about Vietnam, most of them light and funny. Until this year. Now, for whatever reason, he's ready to share. It started with him sharing a twenty some photos around Veterans Day. This progressed into a blog of the 100+ photos he has from Vietnam--photos my brother and I had never seen. Stories we'd never heard.

I helped him upload the photos to Flickr, create a slideshow to embed on his blog, and locate groups of other Flickr users with Chu Lai photos from the same era.

He's also set up a blog for his time in Adak, Alaska, the year before he shipped out to Vietnam. Both blogs contain some amazing shots, taken by a teenager who married my mother in 1966 and became my father three years later. By some amazing combination of faith, fate, and hard work, he and his teenage sweetheart (my mom) are still married over 40 years later. Looking at these pictures makes me realize just how young they were and how much they've endured.