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Father's Day - Lessons From My Father; A WWII Veteran

"We... We together. One being. Flow together like water. Till I can't tell you from me... Now... Now."   The Thin Red Line

"We... We together. One being. Flow together like water. Till I can't tell you from me... Now... Now." The Thin Red Line

A Father's Day Tribute

Father's Day is always a day to reflect on the lessons I've learned from my father. Actually, I think about them quite often, not reserved for one special day. I feel very fortunate in realizing that a great father is a gift, not only to his children, but to his family, his community, and society at large. He is a gift to the world. My father was amazing. When I think about all I have learned from him, I am aware that I am continuing to learn from him, long after he has passed from this life. This article is in tribute to him, to all he represents, to every good father who is doing his very best, and to the young man who one day will be a father.

A bond of love

A bond of love

Unconditional Love

I will start at the end, as every end is really a new beginning. There is no end to a father's life. They always remain our teacher, leaving us examples of how to live, how to be and sometimes, how not to be.

The day before my father passed away, my mom had asked me to stop by and spend time with him. She had an eye appointment and didn't want him left home alone. We had no indication this would be his last day. I remember sitting with him in their living room and he told me he didn't feel right, that he felt like his mind was slipping away. I was listening to his voice and watching him closely. He then started talking about how much he loved mom, and how hard it was for her with him not feeling well.

He looked at me and said, "I love her as much today as I did when we first met. I loved her the moment we met. Do you think I spoiled her?" I was very touched and swallowed the lump in my throat and answered, "yes, you spoiled her, (pause), but it's o.k., because it's love." I remember reaching over to him and putting my arm softly on his shoulder. Those moments are forever engraved into my heart because I felt the deep love he had for my mom and how they had truly become one. I felt humbled and honored to be part of their love, connected to such unconditional, beautiful, enduring love. These were my last moments alone with my father. Their significance has added immeasurable depth to my life.

LESSON: Love with your whole being, with your heart, soul, mind and strength, always.

Dad's little soldier boy

Dad's little soldier boy

The Thin Red Line on Blu-ray


He sacrificed with his time, his finances and resources, in whatever way he found was necessary to help his family, his business, his friends, his community. I believe his greatest sacrifice was his service to our country and world as a member of the military for the United States of America during World War ll. He served in the Army and was on active duty in the South West Pacific Theatre. He had enlisted at the age of 17, a few months before war was declared in December of 1942. He turned 18 in October.

He told us accounts of his time in Australia, the Philippines, Bougainvillea, the Solomon Islands where he fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal. It was never something he just started talking about. He was not a braggart in any way. In fact, I think sometimes it was hard for him to relive the memories. But he was proud that he never lost a man under his leadership. He told stories of moving during the night in total darkness. They couldn't see where they were, but had to crawl on the ground through the jungle. As many men did during this war, he contracted malaria and was treated and cared for in an Australian hospital. He always wanted to go back to Australia and show mom, but they never were able to make that trip.

We know that he received two bronze stars, but when talking with my brother, we only knew a few details about one of the stars. He received one of his Bronze Stars for his bravery and leadership during a battle of which he was chosen to pick out a group of men to take out a significant machine gun bunker. He didn't have to go with them, but he felt he couldn't ask them to go without going himself. They took out one of the bunkers which was key in bringing a close to the Battle of Guadalcanal.

He was overseas for three years, fighting in the most significant war our country has had to fight. He was part of a special generation of men and women who thought nothing less was expected of them than to sacrifice their lives for their country, to fight for life, for people, for future generations. He wasn't home for the birth of his first son and missed the first three years of his life. He wrote letters home each day that he could; this was his lifeline, his hope, but duty was required and he fulfilled his duty very well.

LESSON: Sacrifice is necessary at times, sometimes small, sometimes great. Focus on the greater good, the outcome, the future, and the sacrifice is not only worthy, but essential.

This is commitment.

This is commitment.


My father was very involved in our lives. When I think of the word, 'commitment' and what it means, it encompasses being true to yourself, honoring something you've said or promised. My father was committed to being a good provider, a good husband and father. He added on to their home when it was no longer big enough for the growing family. Mom was pregnant with me at the time and she also pounded nails and helped to get the job done. He realized a larger home was necessary, not a luxury. He knew that a larger home would be more comfortable for his family. and that he would receive a return on his investment when it was time to sell the house, many years later.

He was active in our extra-curricular activities, sponsoring and coaching Little League teams. He coached both of his sons through Little League and practiced tirelessly. He came to my softball games with mom to support our team, and cheered us on. I also got to practice with him and my younger brother, and this is where I learned, "keep your eye on the ball."

We spent weekend evenings visiting our relatives, BBQ'ing and spending quality, fun time together as a family. We went out to eat almost every Friday or Saturday night to a pizza parlor with entertainment, or an inexpensive family restaurant. We sat down together at the dinner table each evening enjoying a home- cooked meal. Mom made one meal, not different meals for each child. We ate the food prepared for us. Dinner was never served until my dad was home and had at least a half hour to relax before we began eating. The t.v. stayed off and we discussed the day's events. We did not get up until we asked to be excused or were excused. We cleaned up our own area, and I and my sister were on kitchen duty. I do recall wondering if I was always going to be the one washing dishes! Dad felt there was no reason mom should do after dinner clean-up when she prepared the meal each evening.

He had verbally expressed to his children that if we graduated from college, we would receive a new car as a reward for our accomplishments. He kept his word, and I don't know who was more proud the day we walked into a Chevrolet dealership showroom. He let me choose whichever car I wanted, so I walked up to the brand new Monte Carlo on the showroom floor and said, "this is it". We did a little bit of customizing and ordered the car and my dad paid cash! He had made the commitment and the conditions were favorable for him to deliver on his promise. I was one very happy young woman!

Quite honestly, I believe that is how commitments are kept. When we make up our minds that we are committed to something or to someone, we should expect that nothing too insurmountable will hinder us from keeping our commitments. There are many more examples I could site, as being a committed father does not end once the kids are grown and living away from home. There is a more delicate balance in a father's commitment to his adult children, but I have seen from my own experience that it never ends.

LESSON: Commitment gives an individual and a family a strong foundation from which to build integrity into the fabric of one's life. Strong families make strong communities, strong nations, strong civilizations.

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After my dad cut my hair...

After my dad cut my hair...

Work Smart

Have you heard the phrase, "work smart, worry less" ? I learned and continue to learn this from my father. As an adult, he said to me a few times, "Don't ever worry about what you can't change, only change what you can and accept it". He could say that from experience because there were times when he did worry and it affected his health.

From a young age, I was taught how to work and to take care of my belongings. My room was always clean. He taught me how to mow the lawn and he would stand there and watch to make sure I mowed straight lines, and operated the mower safely. He showed me how to clean the machine after using it. The job wasn't done until everything was clean and put away. I'm sure part of this discipline came from his military training. If you start a job, finish it. We had a garage where every tool had its place, nails, different sizes and types of screws, garden tools and supplies, and all of his baseball pennants were proudly displayed on the pegboard. It was clean, a source of pride and ownership for him.

He taught me that work is not just your livelihood, it's part of life. It's necessary in every species to work for survival and maintenance, even as recreation. There is a degree of pride in accomplishment. Work smart, learn how to do the job and do it the best you can. And what I learned from him is that sometimes our best can be improved by practice, by learning from someone who knows more about the work involved. There is never shame in losing or failure, only shame if we give up and quit trying. I can hear him saying, "Don't let it knock you down, get in there and start again, think about what you did wrong and don't repeat it."

It takes times to learn how to work smart, but the reward is a job well down and increased productivity, which can result in financial reward. It allows for a satisfaction that comes from working from within, and not just working to get the job done. And lastly, enjoy the fruit of your labor, give yourself time off, take vacations, relax, play, enjoy the pleasure of life.

LESSON: Work smart and bring satisfaction not only to yourself, but the rewards can and will affect others also, perhaps for generations to come.

A few more of my hubs you may enjoy

Educating Children Outside of the Classroom

Kenny Vance and the Planotones: Up Close and Personal

The Composer Hans Zimmer

Finding Happiness: What is the Secret?

Teach Your Children Well

All fathers have a unique responsibility in their lives to make amazing contributions to society by teaching their children well. I am eternally thankful to my father for these enduring lessons of unconditional love, sacrifice, commitment and learning how to work smart. These are a few of the important life lessons he taught me and showed me through his example. Whether you are a father or not, I hope you can also learn from these lessons and live a joyful, satisfied life.

Dedicated To My Father and To All Fathers Everywhere - Circle of Life

Thank You for Reading and Please Feel Free to Leave a Comment.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on November 09, 2014:

Thanks Peg, I always appreciate when a fellow hubber finds this hub, and that it also brings you memories of your father who was also a WW11 veteran. I think they certainly were/are a special generation of men and women. I miss my father every day, but I try to remember what he would say, what he would do. Our fathers remain an inspiration to us throughout our lives. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on November 09, 2014:

A beautiful and memorable tribute to your dad. I'm sure he's looking on it with a measure of pride in his lovely daughter. Your memories about your last day with him brought back my own treasured moments with my dad who was a WWII veteran as well and who also passed in 2005.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on December 26, 2012:

Thanks gm, I so agree that daughters need strong, loving fathers. I often think of my father as I go through this journey called life. I would not be who I am today without having had his calm, encouraging, loving influence on my life. I appreciate your words and taking the time to read and comment.

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on December 21, 2012:

A daughter learns important life lessons from her father. That is why it is crucial for a daughter to have a father who is loving, encouraging, accepting, and committed. Daughters who have such fathers are indeed lucky and grow up to be women who are comfortable and assured in their own individual beings. The worst thing for a daughter to have is an unaccepting, unloving, and generally unavailable father. Such daughters will search for love and acceptance elsewhere. Very poignant hub, voted up as usual! Your hubs deserve a triple A plus.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 17, 2012:

Thanks Alastar, It's always nice to see such a great writer as yourself visiting one of my hubs. I'm especially glad to see you found this one and enjoyed reading about what my daddy showed and taught me about life. As I move through life, I realize how very fortunate I am to have been blessed with such amazing parents. Thanks so much for your kind words. I'll be visiting soon. :)

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on June 14, 2012:

If only. This was very special hearing of your father and what he taught and meant to you. Anything else from me would be superfluous so thank you for your kindness today and for this. I'm going to follow you because your a remarkable person and writer and don't expect you to return a follow. My subjects may not be your cup of tea but many here are mine, so its okay rebekah.

Mike Teddleton from Midwest USA on June 18, 2011:

"Keep your eye on the ball", Semper Fi, Best wishes. Mike

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 17, 2011:

Thank you Jason! I'm happy that you enjoyed reading about my father and found his lessons inspirational. He would be deeply humbled that his life would continue to inspire others. I hope that in writing this tribute that his lessons can live on and touch others. This Father's Day is special to me as it is also my birthday. So it is a significant weekend for me. Thank you for reading and commenting, always special to 'see' you. xo

Peter, thank you for reading! It's wonderful to read of other hubbers who also are sons and daughters of WW11 veterans. I'm so sorry to hear that you lost your father at such an early age. I'm sure in your heart you know those words left unsaid were understood. It would be something to hear his war stories. If you're like me, those old war movies and historical accounts are very meaningful. A special Father's Day to you, in memory and honor of your father. :)

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 17, 2011:

Peggy, thank you for reading and sharing about your father.

I do believe there is a common thread between those of us who are fortunate enough to have parents from this special generation. I feel such an obligation to keep their memory alive and the lessons they handed down to us to teach to our own children. Thank you for reading, it means a lot to me. xo

PETER LUMETTA from KENAI, ALAKSA on June 17, 2011:

Rebekah, this was a good Fathers Day gift then and always. My Dad was part of the "Greatest Generation" and fought in Europe with Pattons 3rd into Germany. I never had the chance to know what really happened to him in that War, he passed away at 46. With lotns of things undone and words left unsaid. Thanks, Peter

Jason Menayan from San Francisco on June 17, 2011:

What a terrific Hub, and what a great time to read it! Thank you for sharing all of these treasured memories of your father; they're really inspirational.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 17, 2011:

What a wonderful hub and what a wonderful daughter you became to honor your dad like this. It would seem that our families had some similarities. My dad was also of the "greatest generation" and served in the European theatre during WW2. He was hard working and despite setbacks along the way always put our family first. We also ate dinner together as you did and did the dishes afterwards. The chores we were taught became life lessons that everyone should learn at some point in time. My dad died many years before my mother and now I have their memories firmly embedded in my mind and heart (as do you). Thanks for this heartwarming tribute to your dad. Voted up and beautiful.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on November 18, 2010:

Thank you, Dorsi for reading and leaving such a heartfelt comment. I am always so happy and honored when others find this hub and take the time to read through it and leave their thoughts. I think out of all of my hubs, this is the one that means the most to me. I am thrilled to know your father also served at this time and was on the great battleship North Carolina. I have read some accounts of this great battleship. How wonderful that our parents shared such a great part of history with their children, so that we also can share these accounts with the world. I look forward to reading your hub and I will be glad to link to it from this hub. xo

Dorsi Diaz from The San Francisco Bay Area on November 18, 2010:

rebekahELLE) Tears came to my eyes reading this hub. Clearly your love for your father shines through and through, and also your respect for him. We share a common bond, having fathers from that "greatest generation". While my dad was out in the ocean your dad was on land, both fighting for our country. What wonderful men and how blessed we were. Thank-you for this wonderful wonderful tribute to your dad. He would be so proud of you.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on August 08, 2010:

thank you MOW. I do miss my parents. I'm so grateful for everything I've been able to experience because of their lives. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on a more personal hub of mine. xo

myownworld from uk on August 07, 2010:

I know you wrote this a while back, but I just felt like reading something more personal from you, and I'm so glad I did. Not only is this a truly inspirational tribute to a great man, but I can see now how he's passed on all those admirable qualities to you. :) More, your childhood sounds like a happy one... and one can never be grateful enough to parents who give their children that gift. Hence, one can sense the love and fondness with which you've written this.... and it's what makes it such a deeply moving piece.

Thank you for sharing it... I'm sure your father would be proud of a daughter like you. You have my genuine respect and admiration. Take care :)

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on August 05, 2010:

thanks Nellieanna, yes, it does remind us of our good fortune and our responsibilities to parent well, to give our best selves. the circle of life..

@time spiral, {{hugs}}

Time Spiral from Florida on July 30, 2010:

We love you, Grandpa.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on July 22, 2010:

You know, Rebekah - I think it really does!! If people have good folks, it reminds us to appreciate them or if not perhaps it reminds to be a good parent themselves. We need lots of good folks walking around! I feel very lucky to have had mine - both of them.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on July 21, 2010:

thank you Jhera and Ingenira! I'm happy to share part of my life with you. Your comments are so appreciated.

Nellieanna, thank you for reading! and thanks so much for your beautiful commments. I feel honored to share him through my writing. Hopefully, it can help and inspire others. xo

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on July 21, 2010:

Beautiful - just beautiful - and so much more. The tribute to this fine man who was your father is outstanding. Thanks for sharing him in this lovely way.

Ingenira on June 24, 2010:

I like the way you present your writings.... so organized, beautiful and meaningful. You wrote from your heart, put so much efforts into it. :)

Jhera on June 24, 2010:

Nice story! Now all fathers are like that.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 23, 2010:

thank you mary and gojijuice for reading. I'm also so touched that this hub has been read by so many. Your comments have touched me very much.

miss_jkim, I wish that wasn't true about stories like this being rare, but certainly stories are changing now. I've heard some that are truly heart-breaking. I read yours, and it was very touching.

lisa, thanks so much for reading and leaving such a wonderful compliment. I feel a little speechless, but am so happy you enjoyed reading.

lrohner from USA on June 23, 2010:

Absolutely beautifully spectacular! Well done!

miss_jkim on June 22, 2010:

I enjoyed reading about the lessons you learned from your father. Such gems passed on from fathers to their children are becoming rare, and how sad that is.

GojiJuiceGoodness from Roanoke, Virginia on June 22, 2010:

Beautiful hub! It's wonderful to read such an awesome story. I'm sure your father has a wonderful daughter & he's proud of you! :)

Mary on June 21, 2010:

Beautiful and very touching hub.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 21, 2010:

thank you so much Greatlife! I am thrilled to share this with you. your words are heartfelt. :)

thank you Kerkedijk for reading and leaving such a beautiful comment. It's so hard to see our parents when they are ill. I hope you will have more memorable times with him. The fraility of life reminds us of how much we truly need each other. It sounds like you have a very special father and he has a very special daughter.

Kerkedijk from Ireland on June 21, 2010:

What a wonderful hub, so inspiring and I share your love for your Dad. Mine is still alive but is ill and as time passes, I think more and more of all that I have learned from him and treasure it and actually pass it on to my children. You too had a very special dad.

Greatlife on June 21, 2010:

Rebekahelle, It is awesome and a touching story indeed. I am so touched by this tribute.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 20, 2010:

thank you dear Petra. I'm honored to share his memory and humbled by the warm responses I have received. I miss him, and being able to share these experiences gives me great happiness. thank you!

Petra Vlah from Los Angeles on June 20, 2010:

I am so glad you keep his memory alive and you shared your love for him with all of us. Thank you

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 20, 2010:

Thank you Putz and I hope you're enjoying a wonderful Father's Day yourself!! Yes, I have been blessed and I'm happy to hear you also were blessed with a great dad. I'm sure you're a wonderful father. :)

Putz Ballard on June 20, 2010:

A wonderful hub and tribute to your dad. You were so blessed and so was I to have such great dads.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on May 31, 2010:

thank you winsome, what a beautiful comment you share. I'm thrilled you are able to see my fathers influence in my work!

That is quite a compliment! I think you are right when you said, 'what a privilege it must have been..." Not until I was an adult did I understand how truly fortunate I have been. thank you for reading and sharing with me.

Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on May 31, 2010:

Rebekah what a privilege it must have been to have such a solid, loving man for a father. Sticking with his group showed courage and integrity in the war and loving his wife to the end was a tribute to both him and her. I can see the "straight lines" he taught you to make in your hubs and the "working smart" and the loving heart he passed on. Seeing a daughter grow up to be a living example of his heart-felt lessons is the greatest legacy your father could have.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on May 30, 2010:

thank you blue dog. your words mean a lot. you were lucky to have such a wonderful grandfather. love to you.

blue dog from texas hill country on May 28, 2010:

this is breathtaking, rebekah. i once had a grandfather like this.

nice job.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on May 24, 2010:

thank you cosette. your words touch me. I have not seen the Pacific series as I don't have HBO, but I do want to see it.

I should go over to my son's house when it's on! He talked about it at times, but not a lot. I now wish we would have recorded him when he told these accounts. my mom did write some of her memories which now mean so much to us as their children. they lived an amazing life and I know that we are fortunate to have had such beautiful parents. we all learn from whatever environment we come from, and yet the more I hear from others, I realize more how deeply parenting truly affects the child. hugs to you! :]

wordscribe, thank you so much for your beautiful thoughts.

the haircut story is actually funny now, but it was not funny at the time. you will notice the bold words next to the pic. I had had very long hair, down my back. We had moved to Florida and it was very hot so I got my hair cut.

I guess the haircut was not so great and my dad tried to fix it. I cried. but I guess I got over it because I'm smiling in this school picture!

I'm happy to be able to share some of my father with you and the lessons I've learned. I think being a great parent is perhaps the greatest gift we give not only to our children, but to life itself. I'm sure you're a wonderful parent! :]

wordscribe41 on May 24, 2010:

Oh, my oh my... Rebekah. What a lovely hub, your father would be most proud. How cute, the picture, where he cut your hair. How cute he CUT your hair at all!

What a cool last day with him... It says a lot about a man who asks if he spoiled your mother... How lucky you all were.

Not too many hubs make me cry, but this one did. I will admit I don't have a relationship with my father, I tried, and tried, but it was too painful. This hub makes me want to embrace the people who have in some small way, been like your father to me.

I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, I love the lessons you've shared with us. Boy do I work to teach my children well. It's the greatest gift I can possibly give.

Thanks for sharing this...

cosette on May 19, 2010:

omgsh, what a gorgeous hub! you about brought tears to my eyes. you father was not only a fantastic father but a caring and thoughtful husband as well. those pictures are perfect and the little You was so sweet-looking :)

i have been watching The Pacific each Sunday and had no idea your father was there, and at Guadalcanal. he is a hero in my eyes.

rating this UP and beautiful and awesome.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on May 19, 2010:

thank you philip and dobson for reading and leaving such wonderful comments. I think he would feel proud also. He surely deserves the recognition. philip, it's nice to understand them more, isn't it? We start finding ourselves in their lives also.

Dobson from Virginia on May 19, 2010:

This is a beautiful tribute to your father, I am sure the proud factor for him would be HUGE!

philip carey 61 on May 19, 2010:

I understand my parents much better now that I'm older. Beautifully written, Rebekah.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on May 18, 2010:

I think as adults we can more easily look back at our parent's lives and see the sacrifices they made for us and have a greater appreciation for their wisdom and love. thanks so much DeGreek, MA and Pandora for reading and your wonderful comments.

Gary! so nice to see you here and thank you for leaving a comment! I know that dad and mom's marriage has had a big effect on your life and how you have successfully built an enduring marriage and raised two amazing sons!

I'll never forget the first time I watched The Thin Red Line. Not knowing too much about dad's time there, I felt somehow drawn into this movie, besides the fact that the music score is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard. Thanks Gary, my 'little' brother! We had a great childhood, didn't we? much love to you and the family. :)

Gary on May 18, 2010:

Very beautiful. You captured dad's great love for mom and all of us. Their example of love for each other continues to be a great example to me. I need to go back and watch the pillbox scene in The Thin Red Line. Mom had said that dad had said that that scene was what it was like. As you know he didn't talk about his actions in the war too much with us. Thanks for sharing.

Pandoras Box from A Seemingly Chaotic World on May 18, 2010:

Great hub.

Mentalist acer from A Voice in your Mind! on May 18, 2010:

As I remember an awed respect for my fathers intellectuality more than made love too simple an explanation for our relationship:)

De Greek from UK on May 18, 2010:

How sweet this is and how sweet it sounds toa a father's ears. Our sucrifices for our families are so often taken for granted...

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on May 18, 2010:

thank you dear hubbers for your heart-felt comments! I am honored to share my father with anyone who finds this hub and reads it. alek, thanks so much. the flowers do resemble tulips, but they are a field of red poppies. very symbolic signifying death, renewal and life. blessings to each of you.

Chip from Cold Mountain on May 18, 2010:

Very inspiring!

Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on May 18, 2010:

Lovely hub. What a wonderful father...lucky you. I really enjoyed this, thanks.

That picture of the tulips at the beginning is so beautiful.

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on May 18, 2010:

What a beautiful tribute to you father rebekah. Your love for him and his love for his family shines through. Thank you for sharing this story and for outlining the precious gifts he taught you all. He was indeed a wise and generous man.

Akhil Anil on May 18, 2010:

Hey It's Great Hub! Really Impressed On Your Dad!

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