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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/11/22

Remembering My Dad on Veterans' Day

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Here's a photo of Dad in Italy, 1944 or 45, at about 21 years old.

My dad in Italy, 1944 or 45
My dad in Italy, 1944 or 45
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler)
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He is at the Roman Forum/Capitoline Hill area, standing just a few feet from the site of the Temple of Juno Moneta, a sacred site where, for over 400 years, coin was minted and stored. You can see a bit of the Coliseum in the background.

Dad wasn't able to be an Army-Air Corps pilot as he planned, because he found out during his intake physical that he was colorblind. However, he worked in reconnaissance, reading Col. Karl Polifka's aerial photos and calculating measurements of objects and buildings on the ground using a stereopticon-type device.

Just a few months before he got to Italy, his entire group of over 500 men, the 32nd Photo Recon Squadron, perished when the Liberty Ship SS Paul Hamilton was torpedoed just as it entered the Mediterranean. Dad was the only survivor, and it was because he happened to be on furlough when his group shipped out.

Dad and I used to have so much fun spending the entire Veteran's Day driving around partaking of all the free things for veterans at places like Appleby's, Krispy Kreme, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, Starbucks, and even a free car wash. Dad had trouble walking and used a cane, and there was a very long line of vets for lunch at Appleby's. So I told the VERY young teen host that dad was a WW2 vet and couldn't stand on the line, and asked if we could take a number and wait in the car.

The kid replied that he didn't think WW2 veterans qualified for the free meal!

So I asked to see the manager, who thanked Dad for his service, took our order, asked what car we'd be in, comped both meals and delivered them to our car himself!

And hopefully he gave the young host a little education about what WW2 was.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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