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Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Memory I Never Had.....

My Dad....Orville E. Manning
Most of you are probably thinking after seeing the title that I didn't know my dad....well this is partly true. The dad that I grew up with was just a shadow of the person that he truly was. My dad was an amazing athlete when he was young and quite the charmer. He had many sports records that even today some say haven't been broken. My dad loved football and grew up believing that football was one step away from heaven! So... like all good southern boys he put his love for sports aside and put his love for country and our freedom in the lead....he joined the Army. It wasn't long after he was in the army that he was tragically involved in a mine explosion that didn't take his life but pretty much everything else that made my dad what he was in this picture....he lost his hands, his sight and his hearing. Through the magic of medicine and God my dad was given partial sight and hearing back and the use of his hands with prosthesis....alas he never played his beloved football again and his life radically changed "and not for the better".....cause you see my dad not only lost his hands he lost his spirit. Through the love of family and friends he began to adapt and eventually he had his own family which helped, but still the essence of my dad was gone.

Many years later my dad became in involved with Veterans Affairs and his spirit began to surface. This became a passion for him that I don't think to many knew about. He never stopped believing in our country and freedom that so many lost their lives to protect. I remember many times I would stand proud along the sidelines at parades and watch the Vets walk by waving those colors that only make your chest puff with pride! My dad and I sold poppies for the Vets on Veterans day and I road the bus "many times" to the Veterans Hospital to play cards or just sit and listen to those that were patients there. Even though my dad had a tough beginning with being a soldier he never forgot the importance and dedication that a soldier has and continued to serve any way he could in or out of uniform. My dad died in 1987 and my life with him was never an easy one but instead of remembering that I take with me his will to survive in adversity, his love of country and his never ending dry sense of humor. I loved him, because even though I never knew the man in the picture I knew the man that made a difference in my life and lives of so many others. Thanks Dad!


Puddles of Grace said...

I really appreciate the post you wrote about your dad. I am an army wife and what you wrote really reflects how in an instant lives can be changed.
My dad was a Marine long before I was in the picture but the death of his best friend had a profound impact on his life... as an adult I can look back and understand a little bit better about why my dad is the way he is.

Nancy said...

Such a lovely heartfelt post Pam...
He sounds like he was a dedicated man and soldier, despite the hardships he faced and subsequently the family endured.

My father was also in the army...and so I understand the dedication and never forgetting what the men in uniform meant to all of us.

Wishing you a wonderful day!
Hugs, Nancy

Carol said...

Thank You for this post of your Dad's greatness. The proud American spirit must live on long and strong in all of us. What an inspiration!

Marcy @ Three Witches Inn Primitives said...

Your dad sounds like a very giving man even though he endured such hardship. Unfortunately I was never able to know my father, he himself was in the services the navy actually. I did not lose him while serving our country, I lost him as my mother chose that he not be part of my life. I envy you and having a relationship with your dad even though you had hard times off and on. My thoughts and prayers will be for him today as well as all the other vets that have served to protect our country then and now. God bless our America, long may our banners fly!!!!

Marcy of TWIP

Alice ~ Folk Art Primitives said...

Pam ~ you post with such honesty ~ I love that about you! This is a very poignant story and you are a very understanding daughter! Thank you, friend!

yorkie's primitives said...

That is a great tribute to your Dad Pam. My father got his kneecap blown off in World War 2 and my brother was not injured physically in the Vietnam War but just like your Dad, he lost his spirit too. He was never the same after the war. He still believed in the troops and what they stand for but war has a way of changing the men and women who serve. We need to be there for them and never forget to let them know what they mean to us, Valerie

Donna O. said...

Lovely, touching, heartbreaking but most inspiring. Thank you for sharing your dad with us.
Donna O'Brien