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Prompted By Veterans Day

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Born in a small town in New York’s Catskill Mountains,  my father remembered dancing around a bonfire as a six-year-old to celebrate the 1918 armistice.

Two decades later when the US entered WWII he enlisted in the Army as a newly minted physician.   Assigned to the Charleston,  SC  Port of Embarkation,  he was entitled to officer housing and allowed to bring his wife, and there in an Army hospital I was born.

My dad made many trans-Atlantic crossings on troop ships taking soldiers to the European and African theaters of war,  and returning with the wounded and the dead.   On the home front my mother worked in an Army office handling supply orders.   Every time my father sailed she feared she might never see him again,  their generation facing  a danger I hope I’ll never know.

I have no memory of the war and was just a toddler when my father returned,  and over the years he seldom spoke about his service.  But unlike veterans returning from more recent,  unpopular,  and unnecessary wars,  it was with pride and joy my dad was welcomed home from a war he believed was worth fighting.

– Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: World War II
Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    A hope we all fervently wish for, Dana.

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    Our generation grew up with WWII as a presence—now it is ancient history—though it is hard to comprehend the danger our parents experienced. Sally’s dad flew over 30 bombing missions from East Anglia—and never knew if he would return. And yet wars continue in other times and places, and always terrible.

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    That is so true of the Greatest Generation. My father-in-law was missing at sea for 3 months until his wife was told he had survived. I can’t even imagine.

  4. That’s quite a symbolic place and time for you to have been born! I guess your dad didn’t get seasick like mine: he managed only one convoy there and back across the Atlantic and had to spend time recuperating in the UK before returning to active duty.
    Danger was all around them in their young years. I hope it helped them fully appreciate the vicissitudes of life as they went through their later years.

  5. Dave Ventre says:

    Of all the rotten ways to fight in a war, having to sit inside a ship waiting to be torpedoed has to be among the most nightmarish. I’d want to sleep on deck in all weather!

  6. Khati Hendry says:

    Thanks for reposting this Dana and kudos to your Dad and all who have served as he did. I think it is not uncommon for people who have lived through trauma to try to put it in the past and not talk about it, or think about it, just for self protection. Not always successful. Prevention continues to be the best medicine.

  7. Jim Willis says:

    This is a loving and well-written tribute to a man who obviously deserves your praise and love. I never knew the full story of my own father’s service in WWII, but I know my dad and I know what he was up against. I know he tried his very best to do his part for his family and country. Thanks for letting us know a little about your father.

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