Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesdays with Murray - Final Edits

When I picked up Dad this morning, he was in the middle to retelling his harrowing tale about his friend dying in his arms. What caught my attention was the hopeless he feels at the prospect of never having a document to hold that verifies his story. Because he was told that records would not be kept of his naval intelligence work, he really doesn't have any hope that we'll be able to get ahold of records concerning it, no matter how detailed our request is. And maybe he's right, but I hope not.

This morning at breakfast, I brought the paperwork that we started filling out together. Two pages of instructions for one page of filled out form. The branch of service and years the veteran was in the service, determine where you will send your request. I also brought my laptop so I could have Dad read through the letter I wrote to attach to it (we didn't do that last time). I wrote the letter as if he was writing it. I wanted to be sure it was correct.

I left a long blank where there was information I didn't know. One of those blanks was for an injury he sustained. He was sitting on a box of ammunition (I know, crazy-huh?), on the deck of a ship when a Kamikaze hit the water nearby and shrapnel flew through the air. One sharp piece imbedded itself and stuck between my dad's legs. Instinctively, he pulled it out. But it was flaming hot and burned his finger. I remember the scar well. It actually looks like a boomerang shaped tatoo. I suppose soot or something got into the open wound, leaving not a raised scar, but a blue-black one on one of his fingers. In the letter, I sited the incident and asked for medical records concerning it. But I couldn't remember which hand it was.

Dad was reading the letter on my computer when I raised my camera to take a few photos. The one below just happened to be snapped when he said, "It was my left hand."
Anyway- I'm using my WORLD WAR II-A VISUAL ENCYCLOPEDIA edited by John Keegan as a reference for dates of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, as well as a few other things that we are unsure of.

And now we wait and hope (again). If this doesn't work and we again get general records that have no specifics at all, I will look into who I can get to help us. Problem is, Dad does NOT want to go to the V.A. for any reason, and that seems the most logical next step. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's just hope and pray that my letter gets into the hands of someone who cares and wants to spend the time finding what we request. ~Karen


L M Gonzalez said...

Hi Karen,

I just discovered your blog after I read your article 'Home Sweet Home' for the "Funds for Writers" newsletter. You had great ideas for freelance ops. Thanks!

I read some of your other blog entries and I, too, am into family history and genealogy. My dad, who served in the Army around WWII and the Korean War, has told me countless stories about his army days and also about growing up in a small West Texas town. I'm so glad I took the time to write them down even though he would ask me why was I writing down every thing he said. But when I showed him a rough draft of the story and included a picture if I had it, he liked it. He even corrected me on whatever I'd gotten wrong. He's still alive and is still remembering stories.

I do regret not writing down my grandfather's stories and my mom's, both of whom have died.

I'm going to include your blog as one I frequent. Very interesting and motivating. I've put off working on my family history for awhile now.


Karen L. Alaniz said...

Hello I m Gonzalez- Wow. We have a similar path it sounds like. When I was reading the letters my father wrote to his folks during the war, my dad said, "Why would you want to read those old things?" And when I asked questions, he responded much the same way your dad did. I have a goal for my book and if it doesn't have some serious prospects, I will self-publish it, if for nothing else but to show Dad.

Oh...and he corrects me too! Welcome! So glad you came by. Please do consider participating in "Photo Finish Friday." I'm just starting out with it, but the whole purpose is to assure that we do take the time to write our stories down. ~Karen