My father, John Symchych, was a private, first class, in the Canadian Army during World War II. He’s 85 today and still tough.
He was promoted up to corporal once, they went out to celebrate, returned late, were considered AWOL, and he was busted back down to private.
Dad was chased by a tank, hit with tank fire while in a brick school house and blinded for days, never knowing if he’d see again, returned to active duty, hit with machine gun fire, bleeding on the battlefield, found by two German officers who gave him a coat and a flask of brandy, and eventually rescued by his Canadian buddies.
My Dad is my hero.
We have a great life in Canada and the US and enjoy many freedoms because of his courage…and speed (he out-ran the tank!).
Dad’s war experiences have been powerful in shaping my own life.
Several years ago when I was stressed about a corporate tax exam in university, I called my Dad.
“Are you in a fox hole?” he asked.
“Ah, no” I replied, wondering how this was going to help my academic stress.
“Is anyone shooting at you?” he demanded.
“No” was my meek response.
“You’ll be fine!” Click.
Thanks, Dad, for giving us our freedom, helping us keep things in perspective, and teaching us how to act braver than many circumstances or common sense would have warranted.
And thanks to all military people, and their families, who endure danger, separation and worry to keep us safe.
On Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, please take a moment to appreciate our freedom and salute our military.
Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved. Phil Symchych