Dad was all about USMC Fighter-Attack Corsairs and then jets. I once asked him if he could fly helicopters and, to my delight, he said that he could fly about anything at all that any manufacturer has come up with that goes up in the air. Marines. For God and Country. Yes, both of those in the same sentence. For God and Country. A marine is always faithful, semper fidelis, Semper Fi, because God is first of faithful, so to speak, steadfast in the glory of honor: God so loved the world that He sent His only Son… So, I always wax nostalgic… From a post I put up some years ago, with a few more details:
Dad’s the one with his back to you immediately to the left of the propeller. This is on the USS Bataan.
My favorite memory of dad was back in the Autumn of 1962, when I was just 2 1/2 years old, ten years after the picture above was taken. I’d walk up in the Communion line next to him with the rest of the family behind us. The first time I had made brave to follow him the rest of the family threw a fit saying that I should be carried, but I insisted I could make the long trek from the back of the Cathedral up to the front, and dad backed me up. The Cathedral had a gorgeous altar rail with the linens flipped over the top. I was always impressed by the linens getting flipped over the top, just as I was with kneeling there beside my dad, reaching up as high as I could to put my hands under the linens like he was doing. I was pretty small. I was filled with such wonder and awe and reverence as the priest and altar boy with paten would make it over to us. They would start on the Epistle side. We were always on the Gospel side. Everything worked together to instill reverence.
It was good be on my knees with dad before the Lord Jesus. Very good. That’s not just reminiscence with commentary of someone older. No. I was thinking that thought as a tiny little kid. And I can still remember thinking it from my diminutive height, especially so small on my knees. I remember how cold the granite altar rail was below the linens – even in summer. Here I am, thought I, with my dad, before God. I was totally enthralled.