During WWII my mother and I lived at 245 11th Ave. My father was stationed in the Philippines, and in May, 1942 was captured by the Japanese. In Sept, 1945, he returned a tall, sick, skeleton of a man. At the time I was in the 5th grade at Sutro School.
After discharge he found work, but was unable to hold a civilian job. He rejoined the Army and in 1946 we moved to the Presidio. One day I heard my parents shouting in the kitchen. When I ran in he was strangling her, yelling about killing one more Japanese. I screamed, he dropped her, than he ran out and was gone for several days. The psychiatrist told my mother she had probably provoked him, after all, he had been through very difficult times. He assured her that he would “normalize” in time. PTSD was unknown.
We lived day-to-day not knowing what he might do. He was no longer the kind, loving family man he had been, he was a stranger. My wonderful friendly dog who had been a comfort during the war years, for some reason growled at him. He took the dog outside and killed him.
The Army tolerated his erratic behavior until later, at Ft. Carson, Colo., he tried to kill his commanding officer for “collaborating with the enemy!”
I hated him with a passion, but came to forgive him, and love him for he had been a victim, just and my mother and I had been victims. War goes far beyond the battlefields. He now rests in peace at Arlington National Cemetery.
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