Wednesday, June 15, 2011
A Fathers' Day Message
Jerry’s father joined the Army in 1944, a few months after she was born. After basic training he was sent to the war zone in Italy where he served for two years. Jerry had memories of getting together with other service families and playing with the other children. She also remembered her mother’s letters that she always sealed with a freshly applied lipstick kiss. On one occasion Jerry was allowed to wet her own mouth with orange juice and apply an ‘orange juice kiss.’ She had generally pleasant memories of her wartime experience because her mother was so good at sheltering her from the tension and anxiety that she experienced. She did clearly remember the day her father came home.
At last the day arrived when my father was due to come home. Yes, he had survived combat and the attendant challenges of being away from home and family for so long. I was staying with my grandparents while Mom went to the train station to pick him up. When they arrived, I was upstairs in my grandparents’ bath tub. I remember hearing large footsteps bounding up the stairs two at a time, followed by this tall, young man entering the bathroom. To this day I can vividly hear my grandmother saying “This is your daddy.” He grabbed me out of the tub, and we began our bonding process that had been delayed for more than two years.
We know that there were many unhappy endings to family separations during this and every other war. That fact is what makes this heartwarming story of reunion so uplifting. We have a little reminder from history, if we need it, of how precious our families are. We should look at them every day with the eyes of a returning soldier and a long-separated daughter.
(This story is a devotional for August 23rd from Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II.)