Sunday, January 29, 2012

Honoring a WWII Veteran - My Father

I'm dedicating this blog to my father, Vonda, a veteran of World War II. I've heard that about 1000 WWII veterans are dying every day. So I want to dedicate a little space to one of those everyday heroes. I recently paid a visit to my dad in his nursing home, he has final stage Alzeimers. Everytime I see him I think of the once vibrant man and father he used to be, now stricken by this awful disease. So now I want to celebrate his life and service to his country.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945 and was stationed throughout the Pacific theater. I only remember his story of serving in the Phillipines. He didn't talk of it much, he was always a man of here and now and never much talked about the past. I tried to ask him questions about it one time, and he gave me the impression he didn't like talking about it. He was a mechanic and a chaffeur and a soldier during his enlistment. He left us a few photos of his time overseas. He was stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia at one time from a postcard I have kept from him to his sister. His favorite stories he did like to share was of his time he spent stationed in Montana during a winter and all the snow he had to deal with. He also had a story of having a pet bear on the base. I'm including this one below because there are several of his buddies in the photo and he took the time to name them on the back.

From L to R: Holcombe - Georgia, Morphew - Tennessee, Vonda, Gave, and Bytner - Michigan. Their bear in the foreground.

I want to share some websites for WWII veterans. I put my dad on it only to find out, my brother had him listed on there too. You can register your WWII soldier on this one at the National WWII Memorial at:
NARA also has an archive you can search for WWII enlistments at:
Here is a good general index to search for on all wars at:

I'll remember him as the big outdoorsman, the fisherman, the hunter, the farmer, and the biggest man I ever knew. He never left his little girls out of any of it. Love ya, dad!

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