First of Red Hook Memories   2 comments

Johnny PetersonIt was the spring of 1955 and Sean was a happy four year old. He was with his Grandfather, his Papa. Sean loved to walk with his Papa and today was even more special. It was Memorial Day and Papa was taking him to the parade. All the men from the neighborhood were marching in uniforms. Sean loved the colors and the music. He marched along with his Papa right in with the men. Everybody came over to shake Papa’s hand. Papa even had a star he wore like a sheriff and Papa’s star was gold. Sean thought that must mean my Papa is even more important than the Sheriffs on TV.
At the statue in the park the parade stopped and some guys talked for a long time. Sean didn’t really like that part. One of the men said that the parade was because of the war. Sean didn’t know what the war was but it must be pretty good if they have parades. Then they played some music Papa said was it was Taps but Sean only heard a horn he didn’t hear any Taps. When the men came out with guns and shot into the air Sean thought it was really loud. Then they stopped shooting and all the kids ran to get the spent casings from the rifles. Sean picked one up but dropped it because it was too hot. An older kid grabbed it and ran away.
As they left the park heading for the VFW the band played “When Johnny Comes marching Home.” Sean liked that one. When he looked up at Papa to tell him he saw tears. Papa was crying.
“Papa why are you crying?”
Sean thought, Papa never cries. He’s a big guy.
Papa looked down and said, “My Johnny didn’t come marching home.”
Sean didn’t know what Papa meant but he decided war must be bad. Anything that could make his Papa cry was bad.
In the years to come Sean would learn that his uncle Sgt. John Peterson, Papa’s son was killed in the Battle of the Bulge. Uncle Johnny died on his mother’s birthday, Christmas Day 1944.


Posted August 19, 2014 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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2 responses to “First of Red Hook Memories

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  1. Was your story of one of your actual relatives, or one you heard of ? I remember my dad driving me down to Whitehall St. the day I went in the Army. He gave me some good advice that day as he shook my hand. He said I know a little about what I am telling you [ he spent 42 months overseas in the Pacific theater]- so pay attention: Don’t volunteer for anything as they are NOT giving away anything good! It wasn’t until more than 40 years later that he told me he cried that day. He knew there was a strong possibility I would not return home either. Naturally, he did not cry in front of me. Only a father who had known war could feel such pain !

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