Sunday, January 18, 2009

40 Years Ago

40 years ago today my father was on an airplane on his way to Vietnam. He was a young 18 year old boy. A man by government standards. A boy in the eyes of his family. A young man ready to fight for his country. A brave boy who volunteered to fight. A son who didn't know what was to come.

We haven't spoken specifically about how he was feeling on the airplane. I can only imagine the range of his emotions. Excitement, fear, nervousness, curiosity, and anxiety. Maybe it was his first flight. Who was there to see him off? What were his parents and other family members doing when he left? I have so many questions about that time.

So many answers are clouded by the memories and pain of his Vietnam experience. Someday I would like to write it all out for him. I would be honored to chronicle his time spent in the military. But now is not the time. It is still too difficult and too painful for him.

He wasn't in Vietnam very long. He was shot and nearly died. He saw things and heard things and felt things that no eighteen year old should have to come across. He lost friends and fellow soldiers. He was changed forever.

Fast-forward 40 years. He is a father of six. A grandpa of 11, soon to be 13. A friend to many. Tomorrow he will go on another plane ride. This time for a vacation with my mom to Mexico. I am sure he is going to taste some of those same emotions on the plane. But my prayer is that he will bring back wonderful memories. And maybe a suntan, too. :)


Less Toil Traci said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I hope your parents have a great, relaxing trip.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, this made me tear up. I love my Uncle Bob.. this was a touching blog. ~Kellie

Hilary said...

Tell you dad on behalf of an entire country, "Thank you!"

He is on a very much deserved, and overdue vacation!