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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

D-Day


Third Armor Division Half-Track

On this anniversary of the D-Day landing at Normandy, I honor and remember my Dad, James A. DeLeo. He landed on Omaha Beach with the Third Armored Division, and was the guy who operated the mortar launcher on a half-track armored vehicle. He was wounded badly when the Third Armored fought in the Ardennes. Carrying shrapnel in his spine and leg for the rest of his life, he walked with difficulty. The days he missed of work, while helping my Mom raise six children, could be counted on one hand. I’m fifty-seven, and to this day, he is the most man I have ever known. Three of his four sons served honorably in the United States Military, two during the Vietnam War. All six grew up to be responsible and productive citizens. Although my Dad did not write fiction, he turned me on to two incredibly different authors, who were his favorites and became two of mine: Edgar Allan Poe and Ayn Rand. Quiet, unassuming, and as tough as a two bit steak, my Dad led by example.

I remember him illustrating a point to me I never forgot. He filled a sink full of water, telling me to put my hand in it, and then pull it out. After I did, he smiled and said, that’s the hole you leave when you quit something, thinking you’re indispensable. It was the only time he was ever wrong. We’ve been trying to fill the hole he left in passing for over twenty years.

My Dad would have liked this quote from Theodore Roosevelt, which fits him, and all those who landed at Normandy on D-Day:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.”

4 comments:

Jordan Summers said...

Great entry, B. Great tribute. I think your dad would've liked that quote. :)

BernardL said...

Thanks, Jordan, yea, I believe he would have.

December/Stacia said...

What a lovely post, Bernard. Great men tend to raise great sons, IMO. :-)

BernardL said...

I'm glad you liked the post, D. Thank you.