top of page

DAD, I’m Grateful for your Military Service

Updated: Nov 12, 2022

I'm part of a platoon known as "Men2Men" that meets monthly in Brentwood, NY to encourage one another to "fight the good fight" (1 Tim. 6:12). Michael, our squad leader, asked us as part of our November meeting (11/12/22) to bring a photo of our Dad's who served in the military. I used this as an opportunity to honor my gone from the battlefields of life for over 19 years...I'm also bringing photos of a few friends...

“Seabees” comes from “Construction Battalion”…

“…Jumps like a Willys in 4-wheel drive…”

--The above photo just called across the years and miles for this tune. And the one I found has our Grateful Bear dancin’ around this big ol’ Earth…like Dad did a long time ago from Ridgewood, Queens to the South Pacific via the Seabee base at Port Hueneme, CA.

PLUS: The lyrics include a blond-haired woman – which fits our Mom’s description at that time. However, unlike the relationship in this tune, when Dad got back stateside, he BEGAN a romance with her…and 7 little ones followed…

“Some folks look for answers Others look for fights Some folks up in treetops Just look to see the sights”

[And these are for me-"Playing in the Band" link is below]

Standing on a tower World at my command You just keep a turning While I'm playing in the band If a man among you Got no sin upon his hand Let him cast a stone at me For playing in the band

Navy SEABEE Deploys on Maiden Voyage with C.B. (Catherine Burns - Mom's maiden name)

Thanks to our sister Cathy for many of these memories...

Mom and dad didn't start dating until after daddy came home from the war. Mommy wrote letters to the serviceman that worked for the equitable mom and dad were pen pals while dad was overseas. Mom and Dad started dating because of the letters they wrote to each other. They both realized they were good holy people with similar values.

Photographer's Artistic License

Dad made a hobby out of taking pictures and when they were raising a family, Dad had a side business doing things like wedding photography. He built a darkroom in the basement where he developed the film he shot. After retirement, he converted it into a greenhouse complete with black lights. (No, I didn't use it to grow my own...) And had an amazing garden!

Throughout his life he continued to exemplify the Seabee motto:

Daddy couldn't drive-in the navy. He told us the story about when he was told to move a Jeep and he tried to explain to the commanding officer that he did not know how to drive. The commanding officer stopped him before he could say what the problem was, so daddy just moved it...and drove the Jeep into the hens-and-chickens - which would have been their food and their eggs and the meat suppl...and then continued to move it into the Pacific Ocean. afterwards he explained - when he was allowed to - that he did not know how to drive. The commanding officer almost got in trouble for not listening to Dad. The above picture shows Daddy in the driver's seat but remember daddy took the picture probably with a self-timer and it was the only seat he could get into in time to have the picture taken with him in it.

--remember, I have an artistic license : )))

On the Road and Under the Hood

When Dad was 64, I taught him to drive...and my Mom never forgave me : )))

I bought a 1965 Ford Galaxie (below) from a fellow auto technician I worked with in the Avis shop in Maspeth, Queens. In the process of our time together…behind the wheel and tinkering under the hood...we were provided an opportunity to build new relationships with one another (there were a lot of rough spots along the way...) I'm forever Grateful...

Dad who never drove...schools his auto mechanic son: ME

In 1975, I moved back to NY from 2 years in California and got schooled in car repair by my Dad who I hadn't yet taught to drive. Now, for the record, up until that time, I had only worked on VW's (my '65 Bus and other V-Dubs belonging to family and friends...Oh, and one FIAT that belonged to a friend named Vinnie.

My sister Mary had a Chevy Nova ('64?) that wouldn't start. After I removed the starter, I wasn't sure what to do next. Enter the CB...Dad had been repairing motors all his life - such as washing machine motors...So, to him, the Chevy's starter motor was just another motor. He sanded the brushes, cleaned the commutator bars and inspected the remaining components...and the ol' gal started right up.

--Fred & Ginger imitating Dad & Mom

(thanks to my brother Peter for this one...alluding to my favorite band, he noted that "Casey" probably wasn't the engineer in "Casey Jones"...)

"Casey would waltz with a strawberry blonde

And the band played on.

He'd glide 'cross the floor with the girl he adored

And the band played on.

But his brain was so loaded it nearly exploded;

The poor girl would shake with alarm.

He'd ne'er leave the girl with the strawberry curls

And the band played on."

--I selected this version because of Dad’s German heritage AND it was played just one day before his April 27th birthday…

--I chose this one because of the song and the June 24th date...the anniversary of the date Dad's earthly music stopped...But, he left believing that where he was goin', the music would never stop...


As I see it now, until such time as ALL people can live together at peace…we’ll need mindful peacekeepers…on land…and air…and sea…


bottom of page