By Richard Mabey Jr.
Deeply etched in the heart of America, are the sacrifices made by the U. S. veterans of the Second World War. Sadly, the number of living veterans of World War II has been dramatically decreased in most recent years. Many of their stories, their remembrances, their heart-felt sacrifices will never be known to us.
For a multitude of reasons, many of the veterans of the Second World War spoke very little of the horrors that they endured to defend the honored principles of democracy and freedom. Many of the World War II soldiers returning to America’s shores, simply wanted to forget the nightmares of the war. Many were truly modest of their selfless and heroic deeds. And, for many others, what they endured was simply too painful to talk about.
My Dad was a veteran of the Second World War. He served at Hickam Air Field, right next to Pearl Harbor. My father served in the Seventh Army Air Corps, which was the precursor to today’s Seventh Air Force. Dad was one of many, many service men who were sent to clean up the disastrous results of man’s inhumanity to man.
The painful memory of Pearl Harbor deeply haunted the good people of Hawaii. Dad would often tell me about the incredible stress that the men of the Seventh Army Air Corps endured, always anticipating another catastrophic attack from the Japanese.
I remember those years, when I was in grade school. After supper, I would be playing on the floor with my Lincoln Logs or building a car model. From time to time, Dad would be looking at his old photo album of pictures of his years of service at Hickam Air Field. Sometimes, I would look up to my beloved father and see an expression of sadness befall upon his face. I remember one time, I’m pretty sure that it was when I was in the third grade, that I saw tears fall from my Dad’s eyes as he looked at the pages of his photos from his days in the Seventh Army Air Corps.
Dad never talked much about his time of service in the Army Air Corps. In recent years, I have done some research about the Seventh Army Air Corps‘ role in the Second World War. I was amazed and justifiably proud of my dear father. The United States was very much concerned about Japan assaulting Hawaii with another all-out attack.
One of my deepest regrets is that I never told my father just how proud I was of him for serving in World War II. And, it saddens me deeply to admit that I never really thanked my Dad for defending America, at a time when he was just a young man. Although my father and I were very close and shared many common interests, I never simply said thank you to my father for his great sacrifice. I truly wish I had.