On this Veterans day of 11/11/11 I am writing this post to honor my Dad Harry Gifford. My Dad was drafted in to the Army prior to Pearl Harbor and served through the entire war. It has only been in the last few years that I have been able to get my Dad to talk about his war time experiences and I was amazed to find out that the draft was going on before Pearl Harbor happened. I had always thought the draft started after Pearl Harbor but that is not the case.
After getting drafted he called his 4 brothers and told them if they wanted to choose the branch of the service they wanted to be in they had best enlist rather than be drafted.
The picture to the left are the Gifford boys. Two of them were in the Army, two were in the Air Force and one was in the Navy. All of them came home safe and sound. My Dad's oldest brother stayed in the reserves and at the time was told he would not be called up and if he was would not go to the front line. As it turns out that was not true and he died on the front lines in the Korean War. My Dad was the second to the oldest and is the only one of his siblings that is still living. (He also had an older sister.)
My Dad at 94 years of age and my Mother at 86 years of age still spend 6 months in Colorado and 6 months in Arizona. My Dad drives them back and forth pulling a small travel trailer and I would get in the car with him any day as he is still an incredible driver. He got a lot of practice during World War II as his job in the Army was to drive a supply truck to the front line in Europe. He was with a group that followed Patton's tanks. He said that Patton would clear an area out and then they would have to come back and clear the area out again. His job was to drop the kitchen off and then he would spend the rest of the time picking up more supplies or taking troops back and forth to the front line. He said that often he would get where he was going only to find that the front line had been moved. In the video below he describes one of my favorite stories.
My parents are from the small town of Kinsley Kansas. When he left for the war my Mother was just a young girl and he did not give her a second glance. When my Dad came back from the war my Mother was all grown up and the rest is history. They will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary on December 1st. We will be having a celebration in January in Arizona as that will give time for all their winter visitor friends to get in town. They have decided this will be their last year to winter in Arizona so it will be a bittersweet year for them.
We are by no means a military family but we are a family with a long history of serving our country when needed. Between my husband's family and my family we have had someone in almost every war since the Revolution. The only one that we could not come up with was the War of 1812. The most recent addition to that history is our son who served as an Intelligence Analyst with the Army. He was in for the same length of time as my Dad 4 years 10 months serving two tours of Iraq. He got out in June of 2009 and is now a junior at Texas A&M in Ocean Engineering.
I have been blessed to have wonderful parents. I always say I had an Ozzie and Harriet upbringing and I'm so blessed to still have them.
My Dad and Mother truly are my HEROES !
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Copyright © 2010 Marchel Peterson, All Rights Reserved. *My Dad - My Hero!!*