Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My Dad

Dad was admitted to the hospital yesterday. I don't think he's been feeling well for a while now, and on Monday, after he and his dog Brutus visited my mom's grave at the cemetery, Dad decided to drive straight to the doctor's office. The doctor examined him and said that he has an irregular heartbeat. He advised him to go to the hospital, but Dad wanted to think about it.

Several of us spoke to him during the course of the evening on Monday and on Tuesday morning, and he finally decided to let himself be driven to the emergency room. They admitted him and he is going to be there a few days, at least. He's scheduled for a cardiac catheterization tomorrow. We are concerned as he will be 85 years old in July. But they need to test to see what the heart problem is and get him on the proper medications. He is also being seen by a pulmonary specialist while in the hospital as well. He's a tough guy, does a lot of stuff for himself and the nurses are having a rough time making him ask for help!

When Wayne and I visited him this afternoon, he started talking about his time in the war. My Dad won a silver star in WWII - he was a bazooka gunner and displayed outstanding courage and initiative during an enemy attack by three tanks. One of the tanks advanced directly towards his position along a narrow road. He waited until the tank was in easy range of his bazooka before he opened fire. Though the first round was a dud, he remained in his position and fired another round disabling the tank which was later reported to have burned. Meanwhile, another tank had advanced to within thirty yards of his position on the flank and was spraying an emplacement on a small hill with machine gun and 37mm fire. He picked up the bazooka plus a few rounds of ammunition, ran up the hill, and opened fire on the second tank. The first two rounds were duds, but after firing a third round he succeeded in completely disabling the tank. The third tank withdrew.

I don't remember my dad talking much about the war when we were growing up. The information above came from a newspaper clipping of the official announcement. But this afternoon he talked about his very first day in combat. His platoon hunkered down in a gully with a stream running through it. The men decided to prepare a meal and were in the midst of heating their rations as best they could when they came under attack by the Japanese. The men, surrounded, scrambled for their lives into the jungle. As it grew darker, my dad said that he and the other men were scattered throughout the jungle. They were separated from the rest of the platoon, and gunfire from both sides echoed throughout the area. He clutched his gun closer and prayed that no one would step on him as he lay on the jungle floor, as he would have certainly shot to protect himself. He said that, unfortunately, too many soldiers lost their lives to friendly fire in such situations throughout the war. His prayers were answered. Dawn came and the men survived and were reunited with their platoon.

I've often thought about our young men being sent to Iraq, Afghanistan and other fields of battle throughout the world. God bless them all and keep them safe.

I'll be at the hospital tomorrow when my dad has his test done. God keep him safe as well.

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