Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veteran's Day - Happy Birthday, Dad!

Captain H. A. Stahlecker, 1956

San Antonio, 1956, Army


Since it's Veteran's Day, I've pre-empted my usual Wordless Wednesday post to salute my father. Actually, his birthday will be 11-12 and we were celebrating it a couple of days early, which is how I actually have a current photo.

My dad was in boot camp in San Antonio and then was stationed in Wurzburg, Germany while he did his army stint. At this time, in the mid '50's, the cold war was ramping up in Europe. Since my dad was in the medical corps, and since they had to train and be ready for action, I remember his stories of how goats were shot up and then the corps would go in, do triage, and begin the medical work of saving lives. Thankfully, there was no actual battle time during our 2 years there. However, we did have a couple of elderly aunts who lived in East Berlin and so another story I remember was how my dad was somehow able to wrangle a way to visit them--the Berlin wall hadn't been built yet, but the partition was definitely in place!

My brother and I were really little kids when we went to Europe-in fact, my brother had just been born in San Antonio-and later, one sister was born on the base in Wurzburg. I do have very vague memories of how we used free family time to go camping and touring all over Europe--but some of these memories are helped because I can look at a few photos. At any rate, for me, the seed was planted--not to go into the Army, but to serve my country in different ways, especially in Europe, as a sort of cultural ambassador as I would eventually return to Europe as an artist representing the U.S.A. At some point, I hope to share some anecdotes of my adventures in Eastern Europe as the Berlin Wall fell and Germany began to reunite, during the "Velvet Revolution" in Czechoslovakia, and as I mentioned earlier, working in barely post-communist Poland. But not today....

Today, it's about the armed services and Dad stayed in the Army reserves forever it seemed--they always needed to keep medical personnel at the ready. He's retired from almost everything these days, but last night, we got together to celebrate his 81st birthday and so I'm including a photo we made of me with my Dad and my brother. And today, we salute all our veterans, give thanks for the service they have given, the sacrifices they have made, and the pride we feel in all of these fine men and women who have served to make America the home of the brave and the land of the free. I salute you all (with love!) And Dad? Happy Birthday to you!

We'll return to our regularly scheduled Wordless Wednesday-next week....

9 comments:

Sandee said...

What a wonderful post and a great tribute to your father.

Happy 81st to your dad. He's handsome by the way. Enjoy.

Have a terrific day. :)

Lina Gustina said...

Nice post. Nice to know you...
Happy birthday to your dad, he looks so healthy!

Ann said...

Wonderful story about your father, and happy birthday to him.

Split Rock Ranch said...

What a great photo of you, your brother and your Dad! Happy Birthday to him!! Today my oldest turns 30 - my youngest turned 20 three days ago - I feel so old!

Amy Lilley Designs said...

A unanimous 'great photo', happy birthday to your Dad, and yes, we honor and remember the Vets on this somber day...

Lin said...

Nice tribute to your father. I love his old photo!

Happy Birthday to Dad.

czaroma said...

Greetings to your dad! This is a wonderful honor for him. Veterans are admirable and they all deserve to be remembered... have a great day!

Icy BC said...

My gratitude to your father for serving our country, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to him!

Grace said...

You all have the same warm smile...

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