Posted by: SJS | January 6, 2021

So proud to be an American citizen

PT 362 of Ron 18 on a speed trial in 1943

My father never missed an opportunity to vote. And when election time rolled around, he never missed an opportunity to say that free and fair elections were what he fought for in WWII. He was proud to be a sailor and proud to be a citizen with the right to vote.

Although he was a man with strong opinions–opinions that he loved to argue about–there was always one question he insisted his interlocutor answer before the conversation (i.e. argument) could continue.

“Did you vote?” he would ask.

If the answer was yes, he was more than happy to jump into the conversation. If the answer was no, the political discussion was over. “We can talk about the Eagles, the Phillies, or the weather,” he would say. “But if you didn’t care enough about our country to vote in an election, then our political conversation is over.”

Those words of my father burned their way into the deepest part of my soul. As a PT sailor who did his share of time manning the deck gun like the sailor in this photo, he never lost sight of what he was fighting for in the face of Nazi fighter planes in the Mediterranean and entrenched shore batteries of Imperial Japan in the South Pacific. Every time I vote, I honor the legacy of Red Stahley and offer a prayer of thanks for his noble service to our nation.

The above photo is from the archives of PT Boats, Inc. of Germantown, TN.

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