By Dianne Peck Senior Director, Office Services & IT Support
I grew up a military brat. My dad was an Air Force officer for over 25 years. During his career, he frequently had temporary duty assignments that usually took him away from home for several weeks. Once, however, he was stationed in Okinawa for 18 months straight – no trips home and few phone calls.
When I was young, there was no Internet. Long distance phone calls were costly – especially those to and from foreign countries. So, the only way for Dad to stay connected to his “girls” (my mom and his three daughters) was to write letters; handwritten on very light-weight paper and sent Air Mail. (Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who remembers Air Mail letters!)
While in Okinawa, he would hop an Air Force plane headed for such places as Tokyo or Taiwan. When he returned to his base, he would write letters sharing his experiences. What he had seen, the people he met, and the food he had eaten were all described in wonderful detail. When those letters arrived at our home, my sisters and I would snuggle up on the sofa next to Mom as she read Dad’s letters to us. Those letters were our only connection with my Dad for 18 months.
Somewhere in my parents’ home are bundles of Dad’s letters tied together with string – letters that have yellowed over the years but which were so precious to my mom that she could not part with them. As in many other families, treasured memories were captured on paper.
Now, I am the traveler. Whenever I travel and regardless of how tired I might be, before I go to bed each night I send an email to my dad. I share with him my experiences – what I saw, people I met, etc. – just like he shared with me many years ago. However, I “CC” my sisters on each email, because Dad is going to ask them to print the emails so he has paper copies.
I would be remiss if I didn’t wish all the military Dads who are currently serving or have served their country in places far away from loved ones a “Happy Father’s Day” and thank you for your dedication and your sacrifice!