Today I Honor My Favorite Veteran, Airman Walter Campbell, My Dad
Veterans Day is about thanking the men and women who have served in the military so, among all other veterans, I’ll thank my dad.
I never heard war stories when I was growing up, even though my dad served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He never talked about the almost 400,000 Americans who died in that war or the nearly 5 million total fatalities. Years later, he would talk about it as the ‘Forgotten War’ that few people ever mention. You hear about the World Wars and Vietnam, but Korea is often overlooked.
We did see his beautiful pictures from a trip to Seoul when he was on leave. He talked about how he was turned down for the Navy because his heart rate was too fast, and how the boat ride to Korea in the Air Force convinced him he was glad the Navy said no.
The one chilling incident he’d talk about was the night the North Koreans infiltrated his camp and stole from the soldiers as they slept. He said they woke up to find their wallets, cameras, and other valuables missing, and with the realization that those same intruders could have killed a lot of them before being discovered.
Dad worked in Armed Forces Radio in Korea, so you can see that the "radio bug" runs in the family. The big celebrity on his competing station in Korea was none other than Dick Curliss.
When Dad returned from Korea, he sent for my mom so they could get married. Mom hopped on a plane, for the first time in her life, and flew all the way across the country to where my dad was stationed. They’re still together and, even though he still rarely talks about his service, he wears his Korean War hat wherever he goes.
Today, I say thank you to all Veterans, as well as active and retired members of the military. Thank you for your service, for your sacrifice, and for your love of our country. And thanks, Dad, for...well...everything.