Sunday, June 21, 2009

Remembering Daddy

(My Dad looking out the window the moment we touched down at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. His eyes sparkling, smiling, he could hardly believe he had finally made it back, some 53 years later. I shall never forget the way he looked at that moment.)

There are certain moments and memories in every one's lives that become forever etched into their hearts and minds.

One such memory for me is the time I accompanied my Dad back to Guadalcanal. His Navy ship arrived there shortly after the US took possession of this small tropical island from the Japanese in WWII. August 7th, 1942 to be more specific.

For decades he had talked about one day returning to visit. No one in the family was very keen on the idea of traveling to a remote island in the South Pacific, halfway around the world, with a 72 year old man.

No one except me. There came a day when I simply could not bear to hear him grieve over Guadalcanal one more time. With the help of a travel agent I found a tour company that specializes in taking groups of WWII veterans back to Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands. We booked it and off we went.

Here we are standing on top of what is called "Bloody Ridge". The battle site that is known for having won the battle for Guadalcanal.

This is a picture of my Dad on a boat that was taking us out to a small Island called Tulagi. I could tell he was beginning to have some somber thoughts but I just could not tell about what.

Here we are standing on the Island of Tulagi. A few minutes after this picture was captured, my Dad shared with me that one of his duties at that time was to scoop up the dead bodies out of the water and pile them upon the deck of the ship. The bodies had been left there after the huge battles that took place in Iron Bottom Sound and there were many,many...bodies (sorry, I know that's graphic).

Here we are leaving our hotel to go home. The only flights back left on Wednesday and we sure didn't want to miss it!

I'll never regret making that trip with my Dad. We made some great memories together and he got to fulfilled a life long dream and make some sort of peace with all that happened there.

He passed away a few years afterwards. He was a good Daddy and he did the very best he could in raising us kids.

Happy father's day Daddy.

I love and miss you.

***If at all possible hug your Daddy's today, tell them you love them and make a memory. None of us know what tomorrow holds.


Susan said...

What a wonderful daughter you are to have set up, and taken, this trip with your father!!!

jenny said...

I love you very much! I also enjoy hearing about this trip.....and looking at the photos....he had a blast....gotta love paw paw...Love ya, Jen

Mike Golch said...

that was a great thing you did for your Dad.My Dad was a WW11 vet as well.He ended up being part of the occupation forces in Japan as they surrendered.I have his photo album of his days in Japan.He never talked much about what he did over there.I did say he was a crytopher(hope I spelled that right)and he had to pull out his 45 and order a general out of the area that he did not belong,after first asking him to leave. I miss my Dad as well.

Andrea said...

Debra, thank you for sharing this precious experience with your dear father. The images are very compelling. And I am so moved.

God bless you. Have a wonderful week filled with the peace and joy of Jesus Christ.