Saturday, September 24, 2011
Dad, The Atomic Veteran
Dad will be 84 tomorrow. Happy birthday, Dad! We're going to one of his favorite restaurants for dinner, and I've got candles and matches in my handbag. Yesterday we went to the VA for his six month check. He likes his doctor, and I respect her professionalism and her ability to be pleasant about his desire to find something that will make him feel younger, better, more his old self. I got him this hat for Christmas a couple years ago, and he wears it often enough to think about getting him a new one. He's proud of his service in the U.S. Navy and we are, too. He was at Bikini Atoll for Operation Crossroads, Able detonation on July 1, 1946. His troop transport had duty taking the residents of Bikini Atoll to other atolls in the Marshall Islands in preparation for the nuclear tests. People ask about his hat, especially at the VA. There are few of our atomic veterans still alive; because of age, and how and where they served. Many died of cancer and related maladies brought about by close contact to unleashed atomic blasts. Dad has carcinomas pop up on his head and hands (only one melanoma, thankfully) - the areas of his body exposed to radiation. But he's alive and I pray he has many more happy birthdays to celebrate. We both hope one day no one will be exposed to danger from war, weapons of war or the aftermath of combat, and can enjoy birthdays in global peace and good health.