Blood of our fathers
My father died 10 years ago. I have held his secret for one decade. My Father held his secret 6 decades.
Dad was a WW II veteran. He enlisted in the army even though he was exempt from serving. After he returned from service in the Philippines Mom said he had changed from the spontaneous, communicative man she had married.
The father I knew didn’t talk, he did things – built rooms, repaired cars, fixed leaks, upholstered furniture. He was incredibly handy, always busy doing, never talking. The father I knew was taciturn and downright anti-social at times.
After my mother died Dad began to talk. He talked non-stop, mostly about fond memories of his youth and early days of dating and marrying Mom. He talked to me, to strangers, to anyone who had a friendly listening ear.
Only when I was driving, both of us looking straight ahead, did he talk of regrets or sorrows . . . He needn’t look at me and I couldn’t look at him.
One ride I will never forget, his tone changed. “I never told your Mother . . .”, a tone I had never heard in his voice before . . . “I killed a man in the Philippines. I still see his eyes.” Startled, I turned to see tears running down his cheeks. “I think about that man having a family . . .”, choking back sobs, he stopped talking.
Monday was Veterans’ day. Outside the market The Veterans of Foreign Wars were handing out poppies. I took one and slipped $5.00 into the donation can – one dollar for every year my father continued to keep his secret kept after Mom died.
A typhoon just ripped its way through the Philippine islands yesterday leaving a trail of visible destruction. There are too many destructive events in this world that rip their way secretively through our psyche and soul.
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below”.
“We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw”
“The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields”.
“In Flanders Fields” written in 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces