It was a gorgeous day today here in Central Texas as all Americans continue to enjoy the peace and freedom our WW II veterans fought to protect.
My late father, Cmdr. Theodore F. Marx USN, retired, fought in the Pacific theatre immediately upon graduation from the Naval Academy in 1944. His first tour of duty was on a destroyer that was torpedoed and sank in Guadalcanal.
A competitor swimmer, dad (then a young ensign) stepped off the bridge into the bloody sea when the torpedo hit them amidships. All the men below deck died. He stayed afloat for 14 hours in shark/infested waters, sharing (at one point) a piece of flotsam with an injured Japanese soldier.
When I was a little girl, we were stationed in Oahu, not far from Pearl Harbor. Our Navy housing was right on the beach in Ewa. Dad worked as X.O. at Hickam Air Force Base. I remember going to the Pearl Harbor Memorial with him as a child. The story of so many trapped in the USS Arizona struck me as an unspeakable horror, hard to even fathom. It still is.
Many years later, in Early June 2004, I met my father in Paris and we traveled to Normandy for the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. That campaign turned the tide of the war against the Nazis on the European continent. He was deeply moved at the vast cemetery there as was I.
I will never know the horrors of that war. My father would never talk about it, except to say that it was too terrible to share. He watched many of his fellow military friends die. We must never forget their sacrifice so that we may live free.