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Gina Stanford (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am the son of a World War II veteran. As a child I perceived my fatherâ€™s military involvement as a heroic soldier who fought in epic battles that defeated the Germans, Italians, and Japanese. To me he was every war hero in every WWII movie. The truth is my father was none of that. He served his time stateside, mostly in Texas, as an Army sergeant. He never fought in any battles as he was designated 1B, â€œLimited dutyâ€ due to having lost his left eye in a freak accident as a child. Through the years I began to discover the truth about my fatherâ€™s military service. The German binoculars he was given from a friend who served as General Pattonâ€™s chauffeur for a time. His old military backpack, belt, and eighteen inch bayonet fascinated me.
He never embellished any of his stories. In fact he was almost apologetic about discussing his time in the United States Army, simply implying that he wasnâ€™t worthy to be counted among those who actually saw battle. I was drawn to his own humbleness in the reliving the stories he related. It was a characteristic that many of the men who served possessed from the many books on the history of World War II I have read, and the interviews of veterans I have seen over the years. Rarely did these men ever utter an â€œIâ€ or â€œmeâ€ when discussing their involvement. Instead they used the terms "we" and "us" to describe their participation. Someone always seemed to be worse off than them. Maybe it was just the generation in which these men were living. Maybe it was because they felt a sense of responsibility to honor the memories of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. In any case, my father deflected much of the praise he has received over the years for being a surviving World War II veteran.
I didnâ€™t know much about his service to our country, except for the few stories he shared, but didnâ€™t offer much insight into his past. It wasnâ€™t until I sat down with him and began to ask him about his military service, and probe deeper that I learned about his stateside experiences of World War II.
He took me on a fascinating discovery of the people he met, the places he went, and the experiences he encountered . I had opened a door into my fatherâ€™s past, and the more he spoke about his life before, during and after the war, I began to understand how his many experiences had shaped his life. What started out as a casual two hour audio recording gradually expanded into what at times became an exhaustive search for information regarding the places and events he mentioned. I was given a unique opportunity to travel back into my fatherâ€™s past. It provided me a totally different perspective of him as a soldier, man, and father.
Now that it has been more than seventy years since the conclusion of hostilities, and there are fewer and fewer World War II veterans left to tell their stories. How I wish I had started earlier, when his memory was clearer to recall the dates, names, and places and events that formed his four years in the United States Army.
This is the account of one of those few remaining veterans, my father, Theodore Francis Furlipa.
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