Saturday, June 17, 2006

Father's Day

My father has been dead for many years now, but I think of him often. He was second generation Armenian. His parents came to this country to escape the 1915 Armenian genocide. If I inherited my gambling genes, he was undoubtedly the source. I don't remember him playing poker, but he loved craps, gin, bridge and backgammon. He spent probably too many of his high school years shooting pool in East Cambridge where he grew up. He described himself as the typical high school kid of his day, more concerned with the jitterbug than world affairs. That changed with WW II.

My father was a co-pilot in the 450th Bombardment Group stationed in Manduria Italy. In the picture above, he is the one on the right. He flew the B-24, nicknamed the Liberator. So much of what he became and how he defined himself grew out of his involvement in WW II. Like many of the people who fought in WW II, he was very proud of his historical contribution. Also like many of his peers who spent their youth witnessing the realities of war, he harbored few illusions about its toll. Marvin Stock, the flight engineer for my father's plane, dedicated his website about the 450th with these words: "Dedicated to my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I hope you will understand the horrors of war from these few pages. May you never have to participate in any future war." In the last few years, I've listened to a lot crap about what makes people patriotic. These men were patriots. They fought the good fight. They were not pro war. They knew war.

My father taught me many things. He taught me to play cards. He taught me to swear. He taught me to dance. He taught me to golf. But most of all, he taught me the importance of defending civil rights and preserving human life, no matter how dangerous, unpopular to the majority, or politically inconvenient that stand might be. Of everything he taught me, that's the lesson I hope I got right...or left as it is often perceived.

To George Garoian, my father, who I loved very much.


Blogger Laoch of Chicago said...

This is a beautiful post.

9:20 PM  
Blogger BJ Nemeth said...

Nicely done.

2:36 PM  
Blogger KGBlovesOreos said...

like laoch of chicago said earlier, this really is a beautiful post... my father also has been dead for many years now, but reading posts like this always brings a tear to my eye... too bad i couldn't bring myself to put something up like that... it would just leave me heartbroken for the rest of the day...

10:46 PM  
Blogger amy said...

Thanks guys. Even as I was writing it, I wasn't sure if I would post it. So much of it for me was in the writing. But then I remembered how much my father enjoyed being the center of attention:)

12:56 PM  
Blogger peacecorn said...

Really great post--and I love that picture of your dad! You didn't have to tell us which one he is. It's really apparent. :D

12:19 PM  
Blogger bruce cherner said...

Hey, I know this blogger!!

9:23 PM  

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