Grandma, what was my dad like when he was a kid?
To Timmy with Love (8 years old)
did you ever wonder about your dad?……a veteran’s story
His childhood was pretty normal. Plenty of homework, playtime, sports, trumpet lessons, a dog in the backyard, summer camping at the reservoir with our friends. Pretty average, pretty normal. Except for one statement he kept making.
I do not know what triggered his comments….but I imagine it had to do a bit with grandpa having his private pilot license. At a very young age, your dad began telling me that he was going to join the Air Force when he grows up. Nice. I thought it was a phase and it would probably change every week or so.
As time went on, he never changed. It was always about the Air Force. It was always about joining the Air Force when I grow up. We entertained his excitement about the Air Force by taking him to as many Air Shows as we could. Sometimes there were actual Air Force pilots standing near the aircrafts they flew. It was an exciting time for him and I thought this would be a great learning experience.
I would take a blank pad of paper and a pen with me to the air shows. As we approached the aircrafts, we would stop a ways away from it. I would ask him what the name of the aircraft was and what kind of bomb/missile it used/dropped. As I wrote down his answers, we would walk right up to the pilot and I would ask him what was the name of the craft and what kind of bombs it used. Much to my surprise, my son knew his stuff! He was usually right all the time. I’m not bragging, not kidding. He really knew the correct answers.
We also made his bedroom a bit of an Air Force zone. Camouflage curtains, a wallpaper border of jets and the like. A bedspread with more jets, a bag of those green soldiers along with a handful of rubber bands and tons of Air Force books for him to enjoy.
I still believed he would change his mind about the Air Force…but for now, the Air Force was the ticket for him. And he just enjoyed what we were able to give him. and, still his statement was “Mom, when I grow up, I’m going to join the Air Force”.
I would hear that statement off and on for the next EIGHT years. He was twelve when I finally talked to him about his future. One day he again brought up the ‘joining the Air Force’ conversation. I let him say his peace about his intent. However, when he was done, I said “Son, I believe you and I think that if you do NOT join the Air Force, you will regret it for the rest of your life.”
Since that conversation, I never heard about how he wanted to join the Air Force when he was old enough. Never.
5 Years Pass…
September 11, 2001
After the attacks on America, he came home with the documents to have us sign off on him joining the Air Force as he was “only” 17. I asked him one time: “Are you sure?” Already knowing the answer, he gave a very confident YES. I said ok, but he would have to have his dad sign the form.
And poof… he was in the Air Force. He served for many years, served a tour in the Middle East, lived in a different country for three years. and has stayed strong in his commitment to serve our country.
To say “thank you for your service” hardly seems enough. Rather…I am honored by his service and honored to call him “Son” and I will ALWAYS praise God for your dad, your mom and, ofcourse YOU.
Let your dad know how much he is appreciated.