My Dad and his Military Career
Some years ago my Dad passed away. But it’s his birthday today as well as Memorial Day. So it seems right to give a nod to his time in the US Army.
My Dad was a pacifist by nature so it’s hard to picture him in the Army, although we have many photos of him in his uniform during that era.
He ended up doing something with radars in Alaska during the Cold War, which led to his interest in electronics later in life.
Although a pacifist, he earned a Marksman’s medal of some sort because he learned to shoot in the Boy Scouts’ Explorer program and was on the rifle team in High School.
Thankfully, he never had to shoot a gun at anyone while in the Army. He might have killed somebody.
For some medical reason, he was not cleared for the draft until the mid 1950s, not until after he was married to my mother and I was already born.
Dad was smart enough not to go to Officers’ Candidate School although invited. He refused because he would have had to stay in the service longer, away from his family, which he did not want.
As an enlisted man, he received a Good Conduct Medal at some point but I don’t think he liked the Army much.
Nevertheless, after his time in the service, he loved to watch the Army-Navy Football game on TV with me.
And, for pretend, he let me have a toy musket and a blue Civil War uniform on which I could pin his medal during play.
And he took me to West Point on a field trip when I was a Cub Scout to see the Cadets’ cool uniforms.
And he taught me to respect the price of peace and even had me try to memorize the Gettysburg Address.
And he was reverent on Memorial Day for those who didn’t survive their time in the military.
My dad taught me to be a pacifist as well but also to be reverent on Memorial Day for those “who gave the last full measure of devotion” so that our “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
So, here’s to my Dad, to his pacifism, to his role modeling, to his quiet patriotism, and to the respect for veterans he instilled in me which surfaces on days like this Memorial Day.
David I. Karp is a full time mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California. His business website is at http://karpmediation.com .