In honor of Memorial Day, this episode of On Garner Road consists of a recording of a conversation I had with my father in 2008 about his experiences surrounding World War II. Oddly enough, it starts with an account of the “race riots” in Beaumont, Texas, when, as a member of the National Guard, he was required to protect downtown Beaumont from what was, essentially, a lynch mob.
An “LST,” by the way, is a “Landing Ship Tank,” one of the amphibious craft used by the US Navy to deploy tanks on Pacific beaches. My dad is not perfect, of course, but I’m extremely proud of his service and, more importantly, of his life. He’s still around and helping to care for my mother, who is in the long, slow decline of Alzheimer’s.
They still live in Beaumont, Texas, so perhaps this isn’t entirely appropriate for a “memorial” day, but, given the sacrifices of those who have gone before him, I’m willing to forego strict accuracy. Sadly, some of this conversation has been lost, but I hope you enjoy what remains. And I hope you take a moment today to give thanks for those soldiers whose sacrifices meant so much to so many.
Update: My father passed away on July 27, 2011. His funeral was attended by full military honors. My mother followed him shortly thereafter, on September 30 of the same year.