First of all, Happy Veterans’ Day!  I can’t imagine this country without the sacrifice of so many brave men and women starting with the Revolutionary War to the present day.  The families of these Veterans have made huge sacrifices themselves – time spent apart from serving family members, Moms/Dads playing dual roles, homes forever on the move at the beck and call of the US Military.  To get a glimpse of what it looks like to be the matriarch of a military family, check out my video interview with Julie McBride.  The interview is to remind us all to continue to pray for the serving men and women and the families they love.

Now, to honor the man who has forever been a hero in my eyes.  My veteran, my grandfather.

You can call him “Pa,” too.  I know he doesn’t mind.

In 1944 (and just under 20 years old), he was a Navy sailor serving on the USS Saranac, a fleet oiler, when it was bombed by a Japanese aircraft in World War II.

The USS Saranac (AO-74), US Navy fleet oiler

The Saranac was making its third run to Pearl Harbor for the battling fleet’s fuel when a bomb hit causing damage to the fire room.  An explosion took the life of one of his friends and left Pa critically injured.  Nine men on the USS Saranac were lost in that attack.

There could have been ten.

But, God saw fit to let him return home physically whole after a five-month hospitalization–with the only exception being shrapnel embedded in his skin and the “Mother”-with-rose tattoo rendered unrecognizable.

He married his beautiful wife and has raised three daughters, four grandkids, and five great-grandchildren.

He received a purple heart in Hawaii in 1945 for service to our country.

As an 8-year-old kid, I wrote an essay that he keeps to this day in an album.  I’ve never gotten tired of hearing his stories of the War.  I was elated when just recently I found a few roll call records at muster stations while he was aboard the USS Saranac on Ancestry.com.  If you haven’t searched the military records for your own veterans, you should.  It’s absolutely grounding.  What a legacy there is for you to discover!

From the bottom of my heart, Pa, thank you for your service. 

You are the kind of man they just don’t make anymore. 

My hero. 

My Pa.

Got stories and thoughts about your own family military veterans?  Share them in the comments below.

Share
Did you enjoy this article?
Share
the
Love
Get Free Updates
4 comments
Fran Redlinger
Fran Redlinger

I just read your entry on your grandfather while looking for info on my uncle. He was one of the men killed on the Saranac that day. He was 19 and his name was Cyril Desmarais (a radioman). Yesterday (the Fourth of July) I thanked him for his sacrifice so long ago. I was only 7 months old when he died but still have letters he wrote my mother. thanks for your touching entry.

Richard Bethea
Richard Bethea

I enjoyed reading the article about your "PA". My dad served on the USS Saranac during the duration of the war. He was on the ship when it was hit by a bomb. Dad got a medal for his actions that day. He told me stories about how they were narrowly missed by kamakazi's on several occasions. I am proud of my Dad and all of the men who bravely fought to preserve freedom in that part of the world. My dad's name was Petty officer Charles W. Bethea and he was a radarman on the ship. He devoted his life after the war to serving our Lord Jesus Christ as a Baptist minister and died at the age of 82 in 2004.

Tana
Tana

That is awesome! Thank you...............

Martha CraftH
Martha CraftH

Hevyn, I was so moved when I read your article about your Pa. Please let him know that there are those who read about him and it makes us grateful for all his service to our country. Thank you for the beautiful post.

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

©2016 DoubleEE Blessed Mom
Rootstock Creative. All Rights Reserved