Thursday, January 10, 2008

Remembering Dad

It is slow at BlueStem Winery today which isn't really unusual for a Thursday afternoon in January! My normal blog writing consists of writing about our home brewing supplies and wine making equipment business here in Parkersburg, Iowa and trying to get as many links from my blog back to my website as is humanly possible without being too redundant. To be honest, that really gets kind of boring.

It has been almost 66 years since my father (Holger Larsen Holm) left the family farm in Grundy County, Iowa (in February 1942) and went to Fort Des Moines to take his army physical and then come home to await his call to active duty. That never happened! The coming home part, that is. After taking his physical he was put on a troop train bound for San Francisco and soon was aboard the USS Republic on his way to the Philippine Islands.

I have bumped into (well, figuratively anyway) several bloggers from the Philippines while blogging around on EntreCard and it just reminded me again of Dad. To make a very long story short, Dad wound up stationed on the tiny fortress island of Corregidor in the mouth of Manila Bay, served with Battery Chicago of the 60th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft), was awarded three Silver Stars, a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts in about a 30 day period of time in late April and early May of 1942 prior to the surrender of Corregidor.

He then was imprisoned for about 3-1/2 years at Cabanatuan, Bilibid and Palawan POW camps in the Philippines and was transported by hellship (the Canadian Inventor) in mid-1944 to Mogi, Japan and then on to Nagoya Camp No. 3 at Funatsu, Japan. Links are provided to articles about Cabantuan and Bilibid. Dad was lucky enough to be sent away from Palawan prior to the murder of the POWs remaining there. A link is provided for reading about this atrocity by the Japanese, too. A special link is provided for information about Nagoya Camp No. 3 including information I provided to Roger Mansell who maintains this site about Japanese POW camps.

You know, wine making is my job. Selling homebrewing supplies, brewing ingredients, and beer brewing equipment is something I also do. Teaching people about home winemaking using either Cellar Craft or WinExpert wine kits is fun . . . but, that whole thing pales in importance when I think about the sacrifices my father (and his whole generation) made by bringing the Germans, Italians and Japanese to their knees during World War II.

Somehow, talking about WinExpert kits, Cellar Craft wine kits, winemaking supplies and home brew supplies just is not too significant in comparison. Dad has been gone since 1995 but he always was and always will be my hero. He won 4 very distinguished medals for bravery in combat and won 2 medals for being wounded and he never fired a shot himself! He was a lineman who repaired the wires in the communication equipment so that the anti-aircraft batteries would fire in unison. If what had happened to Dad had happened to me, I would have hated the Japanese for the rest of my life. Dad never felt that way. In fact, my brother's son lives on Okinawa (he is a civilian employee of the US Air Force there but had been stationed there previously with the Marines) and is married to a lovely Japanese girl. So, Dad, if you are watching . . . it has been 12 years . . . and I still think of you every day.


Leon said...

Your father served his country well. This post was a great tribute to him.

mariam said...

Nice write up about your father...

And you never know how forgiving you can be... after all, you learned from your dad :)

Nicole said...

Amazing story.
Thanks for the share!

If you need a link to blog & site, check out my linkblog and drop me a note :)


C-Squared said...

I'm glad you could share your father's story with the rest of us. God bless you and your family.

Moneymaking Journey said...

Your father is a true hero! I salute him!

Edward said...

I am a Filipino and I salute your Dad for being brave. During that time Americans and Filipino were working together hand in hand to defeat the Japanese.