Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembering Our Veterans

Today is November 11, Veterans’ Day and I started thinking about my dads, both of them: Larry’s dad, whom we lost on January third of this year, and my own who died fifty-eight years ago. Both were veterans of World War II.
I think of Larry’s dad often. Make no mistake about it, he was mine for forty-five years, and he was my Dad as well.
I don’t think of my own father often. He remains something of a cypher in my life. He died when I was seven, and like most men of his era, spent a great deal of his time working. I have very few actual memories of him, and those that remain exist mostly in old photos.
I wrote about him once, though. In 1993, I wrote a Christmas musical, The Giving Season, which I was blessed to see performed five times at our church. During the story, a young man pauses to reflect on his recently-deceased father. This particular song was the first-act finale and always made everyone cry. That may have been because it was written not for the play specifically but from my heart about my own father.
I share the lyric today for everyone who has lost a father who was a veteran.
The Man I Never Knew
©1993 by Lorna Collins
Who was this man, this stranger,
                This man I never knew?
I called him ‘Dad’ and ‘Father’
                But Father, who were you?

Did you ever have a special dream
                That never did come true?
Did somebody break your heart?
                Did someone prove untrue?

What were the things you cared about?
                What goals did you outgrow?
What were your childhood wishes?
                And how could I not know?

What special songs could touch your heart?
                What beauty pleased your eye?
Did you ever shout for joy?
                And did you ever cry?

Why did you always try to hide
Yourself behind a mask?
And why, in all the years we shared
                Was I afraid to ask?

Who were you my father,
                And what am I to do,
To try to find the secret of
                The man I never knew?

I hope all your memories of the veterans in your lives are sweet today. Honor them and all the other brave men and women who served our country so that we could enjoy all its blessings.


  1. We owe such a great debt to our veterans. Honoring them on this one day is not enough, but it is important.

  2. Touching and so true for the times. My dad worked so hard,and fulfilled the expectations for the male role at the time. He drank when he got home so the combination of long working hours and drinking during his little time off made him a bit remote to young children.He was a good man though not a veteran.