It is late on Monday, December 7, 2015. The glow from the Rectory's beautiful Christmas tree softly filters through the dimly lit room, blending with the flicker from the fireplace . . . in my lap I hold a picture of my father taken the year I was born, his sword hangs in the foyer, the flag that draped his casket in 1988 is displayed in the upstairs hall.
I'm told there was a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face that day in 1939 when he was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy . . . when I came along in 1943, both were gone - erased forever that Sunday morning in Pearl Harbor - my father was there aboard the USS Tangier. He survived but he never talked about that horrific event . . . perhaps because to do so would have been to revisit his own funeral. You see, I believe the naive ensign who stood so tall on that sunny day in 1939 died in a matter of moments amidst the din of war . . . without my ever having had the privilege of meeting him.
In the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, life had become very precious to my father; time was not to be wasted; self-discipline and self-support were virtues. As he believed, so I was taught. My father frequently paraphrased a line from The Sea Wolf by Jack London, telling me that a man is not a man until he can "walk alone between two sunrises and hustle the meat for his belly for three meals." Such homespun wisdom was his way of preparing me to face the reality and rigors of life that ambushed him on the "day that will live in infamy." My father was my best teacher; his classroom closed on Christmas Eve in 1988.
In His Power and for His Glory,