The date of December 7th has a very special personal meaning for me. On this day, the Dogs of War were released on the world with catastrophic results — the attack on Pearl Harbor starting World War II. My father, Wade Bowie, kept a diary of his war-time years while he was stationed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. His diary starts at Christmastime in 1944 and covers the next three-and-a-half years that he was there serving in the United States Army Air Corps. My father talks a lot about his sweetheart that he left behind, my mother (Helen Hays).
Part of my dad’s role was to help provide food, ammunition, aircraft fuel, and aircraft parts, which eventually led to the Allies’ victory in the Pacific Theatre. Other ground units were staged in large encampments and barracks on Guadalcanal before deployment further up the Solomons.
Each year for the past 10 years or so, I dust off his diary and start to read it again, reading the same dates on his calendar that I am currently experiencing here in Central Pennsylvania. Each time something else is revealed to me about my father, his journey as a combat soldier far away from home, and his loved ones that he left behind when serving his country’s call to arms. I am soon reminded of the sacrifices that all of our members of the military make for us each and every day.
My father did not talk much about those war years as I was growing up, so his journal entries are highly treasured because they conjure up images and emotions that are very important to me and my family today. This time of the year, my thoughts drift back in time to my father on that tropical island in the remote Pacific Ocean. He put in long and monotonous days living in a canvas tent close to Henderson Field, swimming in the waters of Lunga Beach, and nights writing countless letters to the folks back home in the States.
I am grateful to my father for the sacrifices that he made for me and future generations of Americans. During this holiday season, one of the greatest gifts we can give is to reach out and say thanks to all of our men and women serving in the branches of the military around the world. Their gift to us is the PEACE that we enjoy each and every day back home.
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