Today is Veteran's Day in the United States. Other countries observing this day might call it Armistice Day, Poppy Day, or Remembrance Day. Whatever you call it, it's a time when people all over the globe remember those who have served on the field of battle. I am considered one of the lucky ones to have grown up with a father around. But my own father, Bernis Joseph Lavergne, isn't around today to personally thank him for his past service so I thought you, my lovely readers, would be kind enough to indulge me this little spotlight on a military man of my own.
My father was born in 1928 and by 1950 he was a young man serving in the Air Force as part of the military police division. While he never served his country overseas during the Korean War, he did manage to offer up his two front teeth in a home front battle. He caught a beer bottle with his mouth one night while trying to stop a bar fight. My father adapted to the changes a military life provided but I'm not sure he was prepared for the pretty little thing who crossed his path during those war years.
Ferol Emma Ownby was four years older and came from sturdy Arkansas stock. While my father had only one sister, my mother came from a much larger family of siblings. My father met his match in her and they were together for more than thirty years until her death when I was twenty-one. She embraced the military life until my father left the Air Force. They moved back to his hometown in the swamps of Louisiana where he lived until his death when I turned twenty-four.
My father was a military man even though he was never chosen to pay the ultimate sacrifice for his country. When he died, I was put in charge of his estate and I thought it fitting he receive a 21-gun salute at his funeral. There is nothing so haunting as the echo of a military farewell to a fallen soldier, whether from the ravages of battle or the end of a long life. It will be a memory I will take with me to my own grave. Besides a heartfelt thank you for service to his country, there is only one other thing I can think of to say to my father...
Good bye, Daddy. I hope you are at peace now.