Private 1st Class H. M. Creel, Sr.
It seems that I've always been drawn to the military. I even wanted to work (as a civilian) on a military base, but I've never lived close enough. And then there's the time that Whitney and I tried to get on base at Ft. Jackson, but that's a story for another day. Maybe I'm drawn to it because my two times great grandfather was a Confederate Soldier in the Civil War. Maybe it's because my very own daddy served in the Army during the Korean War and Vietnam. Just maybe! I have several uncles and cousins who have served during wars and rumors of wars. And thank God, they all returned safe. Which brings me to.....Memorial Day.
Now, I know Memorial Day is the holiday we observe to remember those men and women who died while serving our country.
Oh wait, did you know that Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War?
And then we have Veteran's Day which is a great day of honor for our Veterans.
But, back to Memorial Day......even though we remember those who died while serving in the military, I just think it's fitting to also remember those who lived and are still serving and putting their lives on the line this very day. So many men in my family have served in the military. Some have served in wars and conflicts and some are still active today. I would like to honor those men for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. It is with much pleasure that I give them a special place of honor in my heart. And the one that holds the highest place of honor in my heart.....My Daddy.
Yep, you know me and Miss Nostalgia. We've been at it again. We've been walking down memory lane. This weekend is a big weekend for my family. Not only is it Memorial Day weekend, but it is also my daddy's birthday and his 'going home to heaven' day. That's him in the picture. Wasn't he handsome? And those ears....well, they're a family trait. Several of those ears are walking this earth, as we speak. I had a friend tell me this week that she thought he looks like Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer. Ha! I had never seen that before she brought it to my attention, but she's right...he does.
Daddy was a private in the Army, drafted in 1959. He was stationed at one time or another in Ft. Jackson, Ft. Ord, Ft. Benning, Ft. Bragg, Ft. Carson, Korea, Germany and volunteered for Vietnam, but they wouldn't take him because by this time he was married with four children. Ft. Carson in Colorado was his last assignment. After serving for seven years, he chose not to re-enlist. After leaving Colorado, we moved back home to SC, where he lived out the remainder of his life.
Today is daddy's birthday. He would have been 76 years old. And tomorrow is daddy's 6th anniversary of his 'going home to heaven' day. He had a good life...not always easy, but he was close to his family and managed to do many things he loved. Daddy was an adventurous soul. He had a heart for those less fortunate than himself, especially children. He loved his Church. He was always pulling pranks....his sister's and brother's, mostly, fell prey to those. Daddy had a great sense of humor and loved to kid around. He loved to travel and he loved to camp. I know I got my sense of adventure and love of travel from him. It didn't matter what he was doing, if I called him up and said, "Daddy, let's go on an adventure", he would be halfway out the door before hanging up the phone.
It goes without saying that I miss my daddy very much. I think about him often. I miss the mornings he dropped by for a cup of coffee. I miss our family get togethers where daddy was, no doubt, the center of attention. I miss how he used to take his hand and brush it down your face in a playful gesture. I miss his laugh and his gimpy walk. I miss his hands, which by the way is the last thing I touched right after his soul left this earth. I just plain miss him! Some people may wish that their loved ones could come back for a day or for one more hug or just one more I love you, but I wouldn't wish for daddy to come back here for anything. He's in Glory! He's not sick anymore and he's spending his birthday, today, with our Lord.
To My Daddy.....a soldier, a husband, a father, a papa, a brother, an uncle, a child of God:
I am so proud of who you were. I am so proud of your service to our country. I am so proud to call you my daddy. I wish you a Happy Birthday, a Happy 'Going Home To Heaven Day' and Happy Memorial Day.
Til we meet again,