“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham
I found myself reflecting on how fathers can impact our lives, sometimes in positive ways and sometimes not. I look around the ‘Hut’ at the gents that attend and think of all of the influence they have had on their children, some I have met, some I have not. These are guys that come out, participate, and contribute to the country and the community. That is a positive role model if I ever saw one. It made me think about my father.
I’m not one to talk much about my personal life, I think the honor of writing this article every week rises above that. Now and then though, I see where something I may add could contribute, in some fashion, to a brief enlightenment. Many Dads don’t realize that the lessons learned by their children are not from lectures or speeches but a lifetime of having your day to day existence examined and pondered upon. That’s the way it was with my father. He was born an ‘Okie’ in 1922. Moved around to relatives during most of his youth, he dropped out of school in the third grade. Eventually, he ended up in North Africa fighting the Nazis through Sicily, Italy, and eventually to Germany where he was wounded and sent home. I listened to stories about his adventures. Being the youngest of my siblings, I was alone with him and Mom during his final years, when he died at fifty of cancer being misdiagnosed at a VA hospital in California.
As a common man who never backed down from a fight, I was not surprised to learn how he won a Bronze Star along with his Purple Heart Medal. He always told me that “A Walk in the Sun” was the closet movie he saw that depicted what he went through during WWII. Long walks, boredom, instant danger, explosive violence, and then walking and boredom.
One night his platoon was engaged in a fierce firefight. He was a machine gunner sergeant. A soldier was running commo line (communications wire) across the field when a mortar shell severely injured him. My Dad, under fire, rescued the soldier, applied a tourniquet, and returned to the commo spool and finished the solder’s mission. My father never told me this story, I heard it from my uncle. As with most of our group at the Hut, many stories will never be told but trust me, those stories reflect in the lives of children and grandchildren. With all our father’s faults courage and steadfastness will win the day. That is how I reflect on things about my father on Father’s Day.
Our regular meetings are the first and third Thursday (next is 19th June) meeting at 1900 hrs. (That’s 7 PM for the non-Army guys. The Army guys get real confused with the AM and PM letters so we have to make it easy for them). An added plus is that quarterly the meeting will be a shared event with the Auxiliary (more details to follow). Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for June are still up and running starting around 0700 till about 0900 though we have had to have a break these past two weeks. Everyone gets to go on leave at one point or another. Dan, Eli, and Jerry usually have things set up where we can catch up on each others mischief and story telling. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print!