I served in the United State Navy

Today marks the 47th anniversary of my release from active duty in the United States Navy. January 17, 1975 attired in my dress blues drove to the Naval Submarine Medical Center in Groton CT where I was stationed. I said goodbye to the folks I had gotten to know in the past year of service at the medical center and then walked through the clinic area to the main desk of the naval hospital. I saluted the officer of the deck on duty and received my orders and the manila folder with my service records. I don’t remember how I got to Bradley International Airport but from there I flew home to Buffalo New York on Allegany Airlines. My mother and grandmother were waiting for me at the Buffalo airport and drove me home to Arcade, New York. I was on active duty for two years three months and ten days. I was released a month and half early from my original rotation date to attend college at Community College of the Finger Lakes. 

A month later I reported to the Naval Reserve Training Center in Buffalo New York where I became part of CV1703 which was the reserve unit I was assigned for the balance of my time in the active reserve. I have lots of memories of those days and this 17th day of January will always be with me. I was drafted in the spring of 1972 after completing the freshman year at SUNY Oswego. I enlisted in the USNR on June 21 and went to recruit training on August 23. I can’t remember the day or the details of my high school graduation nor the first or last day of college at Oswego but I will never forget my time in the United States Navy. I’m proud of my record of service to the country. I was blessed with great duty assignments and great comrades in arms. I still have my uniforms though it’s been years since I was able to fit into them. My one regret after all these years is that I didn’t stay in touch with all those folks with whom I served. The words of John F. Kennedy summarize my thoughts well. 

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.

40th Anniversary

I’m sitting at Dunkin Donuts across the street from St. Bonaventure University. Today began with yoga, a short drive from Franklinville to the St. Bonaventure University Chapel and a chance to gather one last time with friends and classmates from this year’s Franciscan Institute. Earlier when first awakened I remembered that it was on this day, July 26, 1973 that my my Dad died. He was my namesake and just like all fathers he left an indelible imprint on my life. I still remember the jingles and metaphors that he told me. I remember too the last time we held each other and told each other, “I love you.” Sometimes I wish we had one more day, one more hour to catch up on all that’s happened in the last forty years. I know that’s not possible but if I close my eyes and imagine I can see him and I replay that hug and kiss from over forty years ago in the Eureka, California airport just before I turned and walked toward the plane. The lump in my throat is much less than it was but the beautiful memory remains. I see Dad every time I look at our children. I see him in Devin and Dara. I see him in my brother and sister. I see him in my niece and nephews. I see him and hear his voice in the hills and foothills of Franklinville and the nearby Allegheny mountains. I can hear his laughter every time I think of one of the many limericks he taught me as a boy. He is with me always and though I can no longer touch him he continues to touch me. I love you Dad and I always will. Peace!