Tonight I showed my dad a couple of You Tube videos that feature the San Saba, the navy ship on which he traveled around the world during the second World War. Now, I’m pretty sure there must have been some momentous things that occurred as that crew delivered troops to shorelines, launching them in smaller boats to finally put troops ashore in enemy territory.
But Dad commented specifically about two days he recalled as he watched those films. He was reminded of the first occasion when he saw a sailor in the film sending signals to another ship with specific waves of various colors of flags. He said “I was trained to do that; and one day the ship that my brother, J.P., was on, the USS Maryland, came within a couple-hundred feet of our ship. Now I knew my brother was on that ship and I thought maybe I could get a message to him. So I tried to do that with the colors. My message reached my brother and he actually responded.”
Now I thought that was a pretty neat story. Two brothers from Peaceburg, Alabama in passing ships on the Pacific all the way around the world, communicating with the Semaphore flag alphabet. Something about that exchange made me thankful for the comfort of knowing that, though they would not lay eyes on one another or speak to each other, that my dad, on that particular night fell asleep knowing that his brother was safe and sleeping nearby, at least for that moment in time.
There is comfort in knowing our brethren are safe. There is security in knowing that, although our circumstances and earthly perspectives may be different, our cause is the same. There is encouragement in knowing that the same Father is unfailing in His mercy to all those who accept His Will and advance His cause. But the unity of our unique communication, as sisters, and our fellowship with one another is a priceless commodity. We should never take that for granted in our country where we have the freedom to openly meet together and encourage one another.
I’m glad I got to hear Dad tell about that day.
The other day he recalled? Well, it seems on that day, one of the sailors brought a small pet monkey aboard the San Saba. (Japan does have some pretty cute monkeys.) But, to my father’s dismay, the authorities found out about the extra mate and the ruling was “Monkey Overboard.” The monkey, like a brave compatriot, continued to wave at the sailors as he bounced in the waves of the Pacific until they were out of sight.
I’m not sure there’s a lesson in that second recollection, except maybe that it was too bad for the poor friendly monkey that his visit to the San Saba occurred during a war that was very much about the ethical treatment of human beings, rather than in today’s cultural war in which, often, the rights of animals trump the rights of innocent human beings. He was just a few decades shy of PETA, poor thing.