Bravery is an attribute that best describes my dad, Ed Duffy; a World War II veteran awarded the Bronze Star for Bravery while serving in Germany. He was a radio operator. As the story goes (from his transcript for why he was awarded the medal), he crawled out into the line of fire to quickly repair a wire connection so that his radio would work. If anyone were to ask him about that day and to elaborate on the story, you would get a quick rebuff, “There’s nothing to tell.” He, like many veterans who have seen the ugly side of war, won’t talk about their experiences. Needless to say, my dad simply thought that he was just doing his job; nothing more. The medal sat in his top chest drawer, hidden in the back, where no one, including him could see it. One day, (I must have been about twelve), when my parents were doing serious cleaning of their bedroom, I found the medal and started to ask questions about it. My dad took it out of my hands and put it back in the drawer. He said nothing.
I didn’t see that medal again, until 30 years later, when I attended his wake in August 1999. My siblings had asked me to do his eulogy at the Mass of Burial. I had prepared something, but when I saw the Bronze Star pinned to his casket, I knew that I had to rewrite my entire speech. You see, my dad didn’t just depict courage and bravery during wartime. These virtues were part of his character; they defined him. Seeing that medal once again, at his wake, brought many memories to light of his bravery and courage throughout my life; memories that needed to be said aloud for all to know.
My dad was my rock when I was growing up. By the time I was twelve I had already had numerous surgeries on my clubbed feet. As a child I was petrified of the hospital, of surgery and the painful rehabilitation that followed. Yet my dad was my strength. When I was afraid, he showed his courage and bravery. He had enough for both of us. Seeing that medal once again, reminded me of all of those times that he was there for me when I needed him the most.
Parents are living examples to their children. My dad showed me how to be courageous and brave. He taught me how to persevere. He taught me never to give up. If it wasn’t for my dad’s virtuous behavior, I would not be who I am today.
Thank you dad! May you rest in Christ’s Peace.
Your loving daughter,