Monday, November 7, 2011

In Memory

One year ago today, my father died after a courageous battle against Metastatic Bone Cancer.  
I would like to share with you my tribute to my father, a real hero in my eyes.

He was a proud veteran of the Army Air Corps.  My dad was a member of the 95th Bomber Group of the 335th Bombardment Squadron while he served in World War II.  Serving as a tail gunner in a combat crew from 1942 - 1945, he flew in 25 air missions including the first daylight raids on Berlin.  

Decorations include an air medal in November of 1943, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster to Air Medal in December of 1943.  His 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster to Air Medal in January of 1944.  His 3rd Oak Leaf Cluster to Air Medal, as well as, the Distinguished Flying Cross in March of 1944.  His manner of performance was rated excellent.

Because of his love for his crew, my dad stayed in close contact with all of the men he flew with up until his death. He attended many of the 95th Bomber Group Reunions, held across the country each year, enjoying family and war tales.

Stanley P. Allard
1920 - 2010
To make a journey,  typically of some length;  journey along (a road) or through (a region). 
That is the definition of Travel.

When I was younger, I can remember my father traveling throughout the neighborhood visiting all the neighbors. When he was done with the neighbors he would get in the car and head out to see his dear friends, Hank and Arlene, my Uncle Al or my Uncle Stanley.  

His travels in later years might have taken him to Washington State, to visit his sister-in-law and nephew. To New York City with his son-in-law for a few days to shop, take in the sites and have a high ball at the Plaza Hotel. He might be heading to Florida to spend time with his good friend, Hal Powers, who piloted him safely through all those bombing missions or off to Michigan to see his granddaughter graduate from high school. 

He traveled to see his son, who lived out of state and once a year he'd join his crew for another 95th Bomber reunion. And let’s not forget all the trips he took to see The New York Giants Football team. The man liked to travel and he was on the go constantly. During these years I traveled along with him and it was always an adventure.

One of the biggest trips I ever took with my father began in January 2010.  After a few, very unfortunate mishaps, where my father needed medical attention, I took a trip with him to the doctors. Upon his diagnosis, I knew this trip was going to turn into a journey.

This journey would take us over roads we had not yet traveled. Some roads would be bumpy.  Some would be smooth going for a while and some would be an uphill climb. Others would bring us down and then there were those that would take us through some very dark tunnels, looking for light at the other end, which we always seemed to find.

As we traveled, we had a lot to talk about, as most people do, when the destination is unknown. As we made this journey, we picked up people along the way who could guide us and help us take the right turns. Most of the people we knew, but some were strangers. Those strangers turned into friends. My father had so many stories to share, some we heard before and some were brand new. The friends he made along the way were very special and I thank them for making this trip as pleasant as possible. On good days we would tell jokes, laugh and even sing. On days that were not so good we would ride along quietly, just sitting next to each other holding hands. My dad said those where the days he enjoyed most.

Towards the end of this journey, I knew we’d have to enter a very dark tunnel with my dad being the only one to see light at the end of it. I also knew, once we entered it, there was no turning back.

He asked my mother to write out the Lords Prayer for him, so he could pray with people who were riding along with him on this great journey.

I also realized that somewhere along the way my dad picked up Jesus to travel along with him. He knew the Lord was there for him, watched over him, and loved him. All through the war he prayed to God for protection, he prayed in times of trouble, and he thanked the Lord for his family.

My dad prayed to God for two things. One was that The Lord give him 10 more years once my twin boys were born and later on, that he not be in pain during this journey.

The Lord answered his prayers. Jesus actually gave him 12 1/2 years with his grandsons, which also gave him time to see his Great Grandchildren born, who he loved dearly. Making all the right turns on this incredible journey, my dad invited Jesus into his heart to lead him through that dark tunnel.

The Lord’s Prayer, along with my father’s faith and hope, brought him closer to Jesus and made this trip bearable. On November 7th he saw the light at the end of the tunnel and Jesus was there to bring him into his kingdom, where there is no pain or suffering with his Aunt Emma there to take his hand for another new and wonderful journey.

This 11 month trip we made together was by far the best journey I’ve ever taken with my father. I got to see him at his best and I got to be with him at his worst. I have thanked God for giving me a father who loved his darling daughter deeply and I will remember my dad as being the ultimate optimist with a heart of gold.
I love you dad and will never forget you,
Your darling daughter~

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