June, 1950, North Korean soldiers poured across the 38th parallel, the arbitrary dividing line between North and South Korea. By the time they stopped they had smashed through the South Korean capital of Seoul and had the NATO and South Korean troops bottled up at Pusan, in the southern part of South Korea.
In March of 1952, my father, Marty’sHusband Senior, sailed across the Sea of Japan and made his way up the South Korean peninsula to the front lines just north of Seoul. My dad was a forward observer directing fire for the army artillery. His trip to the front took days, the months he spent in the holes, trenches and bunkers must have felt like years.
My Dad, like so many soldiers, never really talked much about his experience in the war. I think he was so busy taking care of his family and his job that he didn’t have the time or bandwidth to remember what a life changing event the war had been for him. He very successfully managed to compartmentalize his memories until he retired and became involved with his own band of brothers.
As my father and I drove back to Waco from Austin we talked, or rather he talked the whole way home. I asked the questions I’ve always wanted to know and he told me about his journey to war and his time at war and for the first time, his feelings about what he had experienced. I drove up to my house feeling fortunate to have spent this day with this man.
As we drove into the driveway of my home I said I thought it was really nice for the Senate to recognize you guys. My dad said, “Yes, they didn’t have to do that, but it sure is nice.” I’ve always been proud to be his son.