A Tribute To My Dad This Veteran's Day
What to write?
It is 11:11 pm on 11/11/11. I have sat here most of the day thinking of what to write in honor of Veteran's Day. I have plenty to be grateful for, but for the most part, all I could think of was my dad and the stories he has shared.
I browse through a few hubs before coming across a poem by Vincent Moore. It is about a father's lost relationship with his family. It makes me think of my dad.
I come across another fellow hubber, named Ahorseback. His poem is about a father's love for his daughter. I, again, think of my dad.
I remember that this time last year, I took my daughter to interview my dad for a school paper. I re-read the hub I posted of the paper she wrote. All the while thinking of my dad.
My dad served his time in the Vietnam War. He was a vet that had seen a lot, experienced a lot, and shared a lot. Unfortunately, many vets of his time, still aren't getting the attention that others -who have served -have received.
So, this brings me to where I am now. Staring at a blank page, thinking of my dad, and wondering what interesting thing I could write.
My dad...aka...Big Nam.
I write this piece as a tribute to my dad. The character behind my Big Nam series.
I chuckle as I think of Dad's booming voice echoing through whatever room he was in. He usually could be found telling a story. Most of those stories dealt with something he recently seen or did. Those in the audience would be hanging on to his every word, not sure if what he had to say was make-believe, or real.
I remember as a child sitting next to his knee anxiously awaiting for the next story. From the pranks he pulled on his brother and sisters- to what he had seen in the war- there never seemed to be a dull moment in Dad's life. Everything he did, turned into an adventure, which was weaved into a tale.
He has tried his best to be a loving father. He worked hard to supply us with what we needed, but at the same time, tried to teach us to work for what we wanted. He could be extremely critical and harsh, but as an adult now, I can see it was out of love that he taught us those hard lessons that we needed to learn.
Respect, in his book, was to be earned, not handed out freely, or to be taken advantage of.
He tried to teach my siblings and I that there was something special about doing things for yourself, even if you were doing it wrong. He has been our guide, our critic, our friend. We could fight like cats and dogs, but if someone was to step on one of us, we were to gang together to fight for each other. That motto has stuck to this day. (I can guarantee we still fight like cats and dogs.)
One of the most important lessons I have carried with me to this day has been never to take anything for granted. You could have it one day and it could be gone the next. You would never go hungry, as long as you knew how to shoot a gun.
My dad couldn't leave the Vietnam War behind him. He is a firm believer in being prepared for anything. I grew up listening to him tell us to never think wars couldn't happen on our soil. We would be fools to believe otherwise. To him, it was never a matter if war came to our home turf, but when it came. We needed to know how to defend ourselves and our families. If we were drafted into the war, like he was, we needed to know what was expected of us.
Moments with Dad weren't always about doom and gloom. Most of the time he was telling his friends one crazy stunt or another he had done. It is those stories that inspired me to begin my series.
I would like to give thanks to my cousin, for the hilarious story she told me one early morning over a cup of coffee. It was the one to spark the beginning. (The Adventures of Big Nam: The Lawnmower Adventure.)
I would like to thank my son for coming up with Big Nam's name. When I asked my son how it was he came up with it, all he could say, with a grin on his face, was “Grandpa's a big boy that served in the war.”
I would like to thank my husband for encouraging me to keep writing.
To my mom, thank you for your support and ideas.
To my dad, I would like to say, thank you. Your journey and stories have been an inspiration. Life isn't always easy, but you have done the best you could. It is with love that I share these stories, so the next generation can pass them on too.