Friday JohnKu – AKA – Cherished Blogfest Day

As you may be aware a group of excellent Bloggers put together an incredible Blogfest that includes over 128 blogs. The idea is to talk about a cherished item and to link together a number of bloggers who will be describing an item they cherish. The founders  of this idea are Damyanti – Daily (w)riteDan Antion – No Facilities,Paul Ruddock – Echoes of the PenPeter Nena – Demogorgons Fiction,Sharukh Bamboat – India Destinations and Tom Benson. Here is the badge for the event and if you click on it, you can go to a complete list of the participating bloggers.

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The following is my contribution. Todays JohnKu is suspended

A Cherished Item by John W. Howell

When I considered joining the Cherished Blogfest I had in mind some items that could qualify for the title Cherished. Of course, I ruled out family since although cherished they are not items and in keeping with the blog fest it would not be fair to include them. I finally settled on a piece that belonged to my father. I have so few items left since he died was I was ten and the years have taken their toll on those mementos that could also qualify as cherished.

My dad served as a naval aviator during World War Two. He was the bombing group navigator and had the awesome responsibility to plot the course to the bombing site and then back to the ship. He served on both the Aircraft carrier Lexington and Yorktown. His group participated in battles that included the invasion of Iwo Jima and bombing strikes to the Japanese homeland.

He was an older man when the war broke out and could have stayed behind since he had two children and was a member of the Detroit Police detective bureau. He chose instead to enlist and was promptly sent to school stateside to earn his navigator wings. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned to Bombing Group Nine of the US Navy. These were the dive bombers who were most effective against the Japanese fleet and land-based targets. He and his group earned a number of medals and to his credit never got lost or missed reaching the assigned target.

My most cherished item is the Year book that all members received upon completion of the war. Here is a picture of the cover. You can see the scuff marks of time. The book is now seventy years old.

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The next picture is the page devoted to my dad. The editor had a sense of humor in that a poem was written describing my father as a fighter that was intended to parody his true nature. The cartoon below the picture depicts the sinking of the battleship Yamato, which my dad helped plan and execute.

 

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This book and the fact that the Lexington is permanently docked close to my home are the last links I have to my father. I do cherish it.

63 comments

  1. A very touching post, John. Did your dad ever talk about the war?
    I can relate – my dad was a flight engineer/navigator/top turret gunner on a B-17 in WWII and a POW in Germany. My brother has his uniform and medals, and a few papers. Precious momentos of an amazing generation.

    1. My dad never did talk about his experience that I can remember. He only lived for five years after he returned home and I was quite young.

      1. Sorry to hear that you lost him so young. My dad didn’t disicuss it openly until he was in his 70s. I didn’t even know he’d been a POW until I was 17. It was a generation that did their duty, came home and got on with life without complaining.

      2. So true. Amazing men. Thanks for sharing

  2. Thank you for your father’s service, John. What a wonderful keepsake to have. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the visit Jill and the comment 🙂

  3. That’s wonderful John. You are fortunate to know so much about your father’s service. Many servicemen, my father included brought back very little that they were willing to share. My brother and I each have some memories and some cherished objects, but the stories are, for the most part, missing. Serving on those two carriers makes me feel like I knew your father. I have read a lot about WWII, particularly the war in the Pacific.

    thank yo uso much for participating in this blogfest and for sharing such an important memory.

    1. My father never once (in my presence) talked about his service in either war… I agree with Dan.

      1. Yes. They were all dedicated and did not need to talk about their heroic actions.

    2. It was my pleasure Dan. His memory is most precious to me.

      1. I understand.

  4. Touching and a wonderful tribute – not only to your father, but to many others of the greatest generation. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the comment Frank. They were truly the greatest.

  5. What a wonderful tribute to your dad. Cherished item indeed. What war was he in? My father was in the Korean (marine) and my step-dad (who raised me) was in WWW11 (navy), but I’ve never seen a yearbook. Because they’re both gone I’d love to have something like this. Do you know if it’s possible to order back copies?

    1. It was WWII. I’m not sure about the copies. I don’t believe many exist. I never thought to check. Thanks for the idea.

  6. I liked this. Must be quite something to still have this with you.

    1. Yes it is. Thanks,

  7. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Wonderful memories of a father gone too soon but who left behind a tangible and cherished item for John W. Howell.. lovely John. hugs

    1. Thank you Sally.

  8. What a beautiful post, John. Well done, my friend. The book is indeed a treasure.
    My dad was barely old enough, but he enlisted in WWII, then returned to civilian life. When the Korean Conflict began, he enlisted once again, then came back again. That kind of sense of duty…
    Have a fabulous Friday. Hugs!

    1. Your father was of the generation that were willing to do whatever is necessary. He sounds like an amazing man. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Kim for the reblog

  9. What a wonderful post, John. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    1. Thanks for the visit Craig. (And the comment)

  10. John, thank you for sharing this cherished memory. When I read he served on the Lexington, my heart dropped. So good you live nearby. Glad you have the book and the page inside containing him is priceless.

    1. Thank you Audrey. I love having the Lady near.

      1. I bet you do, John. I see it as a blessing for sure. I imagine you must look at her and wonder where your dad stood, ect…

      2. I actually know from some of the letters he wrote to my mom. So it is a thrill for me to visit.

  11. Wonderful choice. Thanks for letting us take a peek inside this book.

  12. Ah, John, what a memento! I can hear how proud you are of your late dad. These heroes from WWII were interesting in that they rarely talked about the things they’d seen and done — they merely returned home and plunged themselves in career and family. My late dad, too, served in the Navy (he was one of the young’uns, too young really to be serving, but desirous of joining his older brothers!) No wonder they’re referred to as “The Greatest Generation.” Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thank you Debbie. These were extraordinary people.

  13. It’s pretty amazing to think that one of the ships your dad traveled the seas on is parked right next door. Your post reminded me of the sacrifices that so many people make in order to keep our country safe. Thanks John.

    1. Thank you Phillip.

  14. Extremely touching and I can understand why this is so close to your heart and soul. Thank you for participating in the blogfest.

    1. Thank you so much. 😊

  15. A fascinating post John. The Year book looks to be in pretty good condition considering it is 70 years old. I watched a program about the sinking of the Yamato the other day. What a momentous event in global naval history it was. No ship on the scale of the ‘prize of the Japanese fleet’ has been built since as I understand it. You are fortunate to have the Lexington docked so close to your home. What an iconic vessel it is. Being a naval aviator in those days must have required very specific skills, including a keen eye for detail and patience. I couldn’t have done it, that’s for sure.

    1. Thank you, Guy. There were many examples of amazing actions during the time. Naval aviators were and are very special people.

    1. Thank you Judith. Kind of you to reblog. 😊

  16. Reblogged this on WHAT THE HELL and commented:
    What a tribute. Drives home that we should hang on to certain objects even if we don’t look at them very often. They can become huge symbols of lost and loved people.

  17. What a wonderful thing to have. Who to give it to? Who to pass it on to? That’s often the next problem!

    1. My grandson is the only one who has expressed interest. I think he will be the likely target.

  18. *wipes eyes with tissue* This was so sweet, John. I have silly things that belonged to my mom, a couple ceramic pieces, mementos. What you have from your dad is awful special. Certainly a treasure to keep for generations.

    1. Yes. It will be passed along when I can bear to part with it. (code for gone)

  19. Great post for Cherished Blogs and an item that filled with tears and joy. Great post.

    1. Thank you so much for the visit and the comment.

  20. Such a bittersweet post. I’m sorry you lost your father when you were so young. The momentos you have of him are very special indeed. He, my father and so many others braved such hardship and horror to end that awful war. I am very glad you chose to honor your father with this post, and to give all of us a chance to appreciate his service to so many.

    1. Thank you indeed. I agree with you and your father should be thanked as well.

  21. Thankyou for participating in the cherished blogfest, and I’m so glad you did– or we would have never seen these wonderful pictures.

    So much happens during a war, so much is unsharable, and unspeakable– the mute objects sometimes have more to say than the men who carried them.

    1. I have to agree.

  22. Great post. As a European, my family has fought in WWI and II, and we still have at home things belonging to our great-great etc. I have been looking at them with curiosity and awe since I was a child…

    1. I can imagine the stories you wish you could hear about them. Thanks for the comment.

  23. Beautiful post, John. How wonderful you have that memento and did you say you have some letters as well? Letters are treasures, too. Thanks for sharing this. xoxo

    1. My mom burned the letters before she died. They were so personal she did not want anyone to see them. (She mourned my father for 40 years) She related stories from them.

      1. Oh, dear. Well, I’m glad she shared what she could. Of course, the letters were for her eyes only …

      2. Yes. My parents had a very deep and personal relationship which was theirs alone. We kids were loved on a plane that was not as personal. I understood at the time why her wish was to burn the letters although I wish I had them now.

  24. i’m so thankful for men like your father. and i’m glad you have those links to him to cherish.
    thanks for sharing them!

    1. Thank you for the visit and the nice comment.

  25. My dad spoke rarely of the war, in fact he threw away his army locker, with everything in it. But during his last few years, I would take him to the VA and talking with the other vets really opened him up. He was shipped to New Guinea where he was crippled by tropical disease, as happened to so many of his fellow soldiers. He spent the rest of the war as a guard in a POW camp. His story was extraordinary – but ordinary in comparison to so many of his generation.

    1. Thank you for sharing this story

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