My dad, MSG Philip Speasmaker, passed away from cancer in 2003 and for me it was a devastating blow. At the time I didn’t think it would be because we were never that close. Dad didn’t let anybody get too close to him. I didn’t think I would miss him so much but. I found out later that it left a huge hole in my life. A wound that I didn’t know was there and one that took years to find and to heal. I would give anything for just 5 more minutes with him.
Dad was a quiet man when he was at home and would sit for hours by himself reading some book on history (his passion), smoking cigarettes or just staring into space. I now realize he was hiding, to the best of his ability, the horror of war. I am sure now he had to live and relive every day those experiences. Towards the end, in the last few years of his life, he found great satisfaction and, I think, some peace from watching birds on his deck and taking care of a little Yorkshire terrier he rescued named Little Bit.
Dad was a veteran of both World War II and Korea, and he saw combat both over Germany and Korea. But I think it was his World War II experiences in the 8th Army Air Corp that affected him the most. It wasn’t enough for this child of the depression to have to endure the crushing poverty of his upbringing, but he was also forced to see almost all of the buddies that he flew with die, go missing or be horribly wounded. It is unimaginable what people had to face and live through in those days. Unimaginable. [Read more…]