This is a picture of my Dad and his Dad, my grandpa King, during World War II. My grandfather served in the Army during World War I, World War II, and Korea. My father was classified 4-F due to poor eyesight and thus could not serve actively. He was part of the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, and did the best he could to serve his country by working hard and raising a family. I had wondered recently how it felt for him to be left behind when most of his generation was serving overseas. Military-referencing holidays, like Memorial Day and Veterans Day, must have been hard. Especially since his own brother-in-law, my uncle Phil died in the service and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and because his father had a long military history.

Dad would have been 104 this year, born when his father was over in Europe serving with the American Expeditionary Force. Sadly he passed away 35 years ago today. It seems so long ago, but I am glad I have pictures like this to remember him by. He was a good man and loved his country. He valued education and provided for his family. He and Mom taught us, kids, valuable lessons and modeled the behaviors they taught us.

During my teen years, we had our disagreements. Of course what teenager doesn’t? It takes time to mature enough to look back and appreciate what you have. Here are two pictures that needed distance and time for me to appreciate. One is of dad and me in the backyard of our house in Portland – me looking very gawky. The other is of my parents and us kids, for a church directory, with me looking all of my little kid 10 years old.

I believe that shortly after this picture was taken dad had his first stroke (he was only 48) and our lives changed forever. I sometimes wonder how my life would have been if he had watched his blood pressure and weight and avoided the stroke. It was a life lesson for me – seeing a doctor even when I was in good health, just to keep track of things. But I realize that sometimes life is what it is and you deal with it the best you can. Missing you today Dad:(