Monday, October 20, 2014

In others' words...

This NY Times article said basically the same thing as this Washington Post article.

Before it actually happened, I'd have thought that when the time came, I'd blog about my father - who he was to us, what he represented, and his passing.  Now that it's happened, I realize it's too personal and I don't want to share it.  How could I have once thought I could do an acceptable job of it without baring my soul in a way not suited for the internet?

An interview that well-represents Dad's perspective on his experience. The interview has to do with the documentary "Return with Honor" that was released around the time.

I do, though, want to mark this most profound occasion and honor his remarkable life in some way.

There was a gratifying amount of media recognition.  Gratifying, because it indicated that people still recognize that the qualities of men like my Dad are valuable and that his were qualities for which to strive.

 ABC Person of the Week  ...  I like this clip although I'd like to point out that though the blinking in morse code grabs the attention, the fact that he's most proud of, the declaration with which he absolutely risked his life were the words used to respond to the interviewer's question about how he felt about the bombing of Vietnam.  He replied that he didn't know what was happening in the war, but whatever was the position of his government, he supported it, fully, and would as long as he lived.  That, after having been tortured for days beforehand.  That, knowing, fully, that he would be further tortured for having said it.  As my eldest brother, Jerry, pointed out in Dad's eulogy, Dad took that stand, risked his life for what he believed, not for personal aggrandizement or expectation of praise or respect.  He had no idea anyone would ever see that video.  He took that stand, because that's what he was about.  Just look at him walk in that room for the interview - subdued, but anger, determination, and defiance running just below the surface.

I quote Shone, a childhood family friend, who wrote me a nice message after my dad died.:

"...but the thing is... your Dad was a stud. Seriously. Pre-Vietnam, Vietnam, post... He was a player, a guy who rode the bull to the end, a gangster (which is what my urban students say in respect...) ..."

My parents would've been enjoyed seeing the family gathered at Jerry's house the night Dad died - telling stories, crying, laughing, talking. They'd have especially have appreciated their descendants' very loud 3:00 a.m. renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America. Jane and Jerry left a legacy that we embrace.

My father's widow, the incomparable Mary Belle


Micah said...

This is really beautiful, Mommy.

Madeleine Doak said...

Thanks, Micah Bug.

Mary Lewis said...

Wow!! I love this Madeleine!! Wonderful!!

Madeleine Doak said...

A blog isn't the ideal way to preserve memories, Mary, but it feels good to sort it out in my head as I write. Love you.