My dad was born in a small town (De Pue) in Bureau County, Illinois. He graduated from De Pue High School in 1941, at age 17. A few months later, he decided to join the Navy. He enlisted in November 1941. Less than one month later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the fates of millions of American men and women were sealed in one way or another.
My father survived the war, lucky for my siblings and me (and for him, come to think of it). He didn't talk about it much, so I've always suspected that one or more buddies were killed or very badly injured. He did mention several times that he wished he'd stayed in the service, since he could have retired with full pay in 1961, at age 37. Since he lived until 1999, that would have been a good deal, indeed.
Here are some pictures of my dad in uniform. He cut a dashing figure, don't you agree?
My dad's name was Lester George Pearson. He loved the beach (he was stationed for some time in Hawaii during the war), and I assume that he's presently walking along a celestial beach, where it's always sunny and warm, you never need sunscreen, and there's always a waiter or waitress at hand with a cool libation of choice.
Here's to you, Dad!