Like many people, I have a rich family history. For a long time, even my Dad had many unanswered questions about his family. Though there are still many unanswered questions, I've been fortunate enough for him to tell me stories the things that he does know. My dad was born in Manila, in the Philippines. It was a whole different world there when my grandparents (my Mima and Lolo) were growing up. I will preface this post by cautioning that I am by no means anything close to a historian. What I know came second- and third-hand from my dad.
Auntie Velma (hope you don't mind, Auntie). Isn't my Mima beautiful? She's been in ailing health for years, and despite doctors telling her that she is at the end, she keeps proving them wrong.
Bataan, and then survived the subsequent Bataan Death March. All members of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, which was at the time commanded by the US Army, were granted US citizenship if they wanted it. This all happened just years before my dad and his sisters were born. It's amazing to think that if he hadn't endured those long years as a POW, that my dad never would have been born. I probably don't have to specify that consequently, I wouldn't have been here either.
My Lolo died when my dad was only 9 years old, in 1959 at the age of 39. From what I understand, he was fishing in a small boat with a friend, who went overboard. My Lolo jumped in to save him from drowning, but (as is not uncommon) the friend ended up pulling him down underwater with him. Sadly, he died trying to save the life of another. He was active in the US Army when he passed away, and was buried at the well-known Presidio in San Francisco.
I would have loved to have known my grandfather. If he was still alive today, he would have been 90 years old. I would have loved to hear him tell incredible stories in a comforting and beautiful accent not unlike my Mima's. So on this Veteran's day (as well as Memorial Day), I think of my family history, and all the difficulties that were endured for all of us to be here today. This photo was also snatched from my Auntie's blog, from a scrapbook that she handcrafted for my dad.
I also think of my Dad, who was drafted during the Vietnam War, and has a great story that he calls "Saving Private Vitan". Below you see him as a little boy, it was either taken after moving from the Philippines to Japan, or maybe after he moved from Japan to the US. The second photo is of my dad looking handsome in his uniform. Today he looks much younger than his his true age. In fact, it's difficult to believe how little he's changed since that photo in uniform, so ladies... he's single!