The Greatest Generation and Memorial Day Parade

I may have told this story before. But I'll tell it again.
Dad is on the left

My dad left for WWII 2 weeks after graduation. He and his twin brother enrolled in the Navy and my dad was accepted and sent off to Okinawa, Japan.  He was assigned to the Red Cross, distributing supplies to the troops all over the area.

He was the oldest of six children, living on a respectable farming Kannapolis, North Carolina. I can't imagine how proud his mom and dad were when he left to go serve our country. But I can't imagine how afraid and excited my dad must have been.

He may seem reserved, but my dad treasures his friends and had so many friends on his ship. He still remembers all their names and where they were from. We are talking 70 years ago...their time together must have been life-changing.

Growing up, sometimes my dad would tell stories when the opportunity arose, but most often, I asked him to tell me. Whenever we have bad storms here, he lives the moments when he and his buddies weathered typhoons in a tent.

I always liked the chocolate bar story. Since he was the Red Cross distributor, he has cases of tropical Hershey bars and kept them under his cot. One night, he reached under his bed and pulled out a rat. And we complain at restaurants when our food isn't up to par.

Other moments he witnessed were pretty traumatizing, including accidents on the ship, a meat-cleaver to the head (the cook caught a Japanese man stealing meat from the kitchen), and I am sure there are other stories he just doesn't even want to share.

All that to say, he (and all veterans) lived through tough times so that we don't have to. He voluntarily left right before a promising college start at UNC and enjoying his 20's.  So, on Memorial Day, yes, we are remembering the men and women who lost their lives, but also saluting the ones who put their lives on the line and got to come back to build our nation.

Thanks, dad.

Parade details:

We really enjoyed our first Worthington Memorial Day parade. It was so nice to be able to walk up our street to High Street and watch it! This is the beginning of a tradition I hope we have for a very long time.

If you haven't been to the parade, start out early (8:30 seemed to be fine) to set up your viewing spot (best to be on the East side of the street to avoid looking at the sun). Then go grab breakfast at Sassafras or Tim Hortons and watch the parade at 10:00. It begins around Kilbourne Middle school (on 161) and ends at Walnut Grove Cemetery, and parking seemed to be ample at all the lots on High Street. Roads close at 9:45 AM.

If your child doesn't like loud noise (like mine), most of the parade is fine. There are sirens at the beginning that weren't too bad, but the old cars that blow their horns and the giant group of Cameros that rev their engines put her over the edge toward the end.

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