My Pa Pa volunteered for service in WWII to serve his country in its time of need. He was a 90 day wonder and completed the officers candidate program to enter the fight against the Japanese in the Pacific theater. My father-in-law, Jack Eliason, served as an Army Air Core airplane mechanic and they probably were on the same Pacific Island during the most unified portion of our nation’s short history since the Revolutionary war.
Both Jack and Whit survived and came home after seeing things that we, who have not experienced the horrors of war, can’t even imagine. They both led productive lives and contributed to the greater good of this nation. They both were not victims of their experiences, but victors through their faith and convictions. Neither were perfect fathers or role models, but they did their best to support and witness to their children. Both were wounded and imperfect warriors for what they had done and witnessed, but both patriots, none the less. Both men were hard and both made lots of mistakes when it came to being
parents, but both only wanted more and better for their children than they had.
I never knew how the war affected my Pa Pa until were in a sushi bar in Osaka, Japan when we were on a father-son trip to the Orient while Whit was importing Cheoy Lee sailboats. We were having an enjoyable meal when my PaPa came unglued. I had to quickly pay the check and get him out of there and back to the hotel. I asked him what was the matter and he said, “Son, you can’t understand this but those little son’s of bitches were trying to kill me not so long ago.”
My PaPa started me out unloading box cars at 12 years old. He was a hard man, but a fair man. He gave me the gift of not being afraid of hard work. He witnessed to me that doing the right thing was more valuable than doing the easy thing or what put the most money in my pocket. He told me that if I was honest and fair no matter what, it would pay dividends. I believe that Jack’s and Whit’s generation was the next best thing to our revolutionary forefathers. He and Jack fought so we as Americans could have the freedoms that our fore fathers envisioned for future generations.
My PaPa made lots of mistakes as all fathers do. His last gift to me after many conflicts was to ask me to preach his funeral. I was honored and humbled to fulfill his last gift to me. I am writing this on Memorial Day to give honor to Jack and Whit whose flag and witness flies high above my life and gives me strength in the perilous times we are now experiencing as a nation. Whit and Jack fought a known enemy that unified our nation.
Now, we who wish to continue to live and prosper under those blood bought liberties have a new homegrown enemy. Our new enemy has succeeded to germinate in the blood bought soil our forefathers died for. The viral affect of these deluded elitists is now poisoning the land that could nourish the crop of freedom for future generations.
This is an exceptional country built on the foundational beliefs of exceptional men and women. Those who prayed as if everything depended on God and worked as if everything depended on their calloused hands. They did not want or expect a hand out, just the opportunity to live as free men and women, and not as serfs under a government of oppressors.
God Bless you, Jack and Whit, your friends, and band of brothers,. Your battle is over and you now camp with your captain.
A latent patriot and prodigal son.
Neil K. Haynes May 2011