Each Friday I honor a special person involved in Aviation as my Friday Flyer. But today it’s important to honor a Veteran—that under appreciated hero who went to war ... out of duty and obligation to his country. Sometimes we don’t have the ability to choose the path our life takes, especially if we’re drafted. But if we’re lucky enough to return home to the life of freedom that we fought for, we do have the opportunity to choose the remainder of our journey.
Marvin on the left.
Marvin Richard Petitt Senior, born in 1910, was a WWII Navy Chief Machinist Mate. Marvin was Naval mechanic who loved planes. As a naval reservist, he was stationed at Sand Point Washington until he was activated in the January of 1941, and sent to Georgia, missing the birth of his son, Marvin Richard Petitt Junior—Dick—April 7, 1941.
One of the older kids in the war, he was 31 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Sent to Georgia for two years, he was shipped out to Hawaii in 1943, where he stayed through the end of the war. He passed away with a heart attack in 1966 at the young age of 56.
Marvin is the father-in-law that I never had the opportunity to meet because he'd already passed before I became part of the family.
A family connection: Our eldest daughter and I were looking for a condo to purchase for her to live while she attended the University of Washington. While we looked at numerous places, only one "felt" right, and we knew we had to have it. That condo happened to be in Sandpoint Washington, across from the Magneson Park. It wasn't until that night that my husband told me that's where his father was stationed prior to the war. We dug up some old photos... those above... and from the unit we purchased, we can look out the window and see where Marvin once stood by the planes he was so proud of.
Dick doesn't work on planes, and he isn’t a pilot, but he is married to one. He’s my husband, and literally the wind beneath my wings. We've been married for 30 years and have three beautiful daughters and four grandchildren with two more scheduled to arrive in the very near future.
Dick and Karlene
When I speak of heroes, my husband comes to mind. Not only for his contribution in a non-popular war, but for the support he's always given me. My first flying opportunity came earlier than I’d planned. I was waiting until our daughters were in grade school before I began my career as an airline pilot. But when Evergreen called and offered me the job to fly a 727, and our daughters were two, three and four, I was torn. I couldn't do it.
I’d wanted to fly, but I couldn’t leave the girls. How could the family survive if I wasn’t there every night? I was afraid to take that plunge. The dream I’d worked for and wanted as long as I could remember was being offered, and I didn’t know what to do. How could I take this job, and have a family too?
Dick and Kalimar, our eldest daughter
It was Dick who's said, “An opportunity like this only comes along once in lifetime. If you want to be a pilot, you've got to take the job. We’ll figure it out.”
Dick and Kayla, our middle daughter
He’s always been understanding and encouraging when the company called me to fly a trip on my days off. Dick supported my college endeavors, as well as my writing.
Dick and Krysta, our youngest daughter (and biscuit)
Flexibility. Understanding. Encouragement. Support. Pride. How many people with crazy jobs and crazier schedules that keep you away from home for weeks, or up all night writing, have a hero in their life that they would like to honor? How many people have their hero in war right now?
Veterans Day might be the best day to remember all our heroes. Our heroes who fought and died in the war. Our heroes who fought and lived to carry on. Our heroes who struggle daily with what life has thrown their way, and yet they somehow find a way to carry on with love, concern and support of others.
When I ask Dick what he wants in his life, he says, "For you to be happy." And he means it. When we talk about our daughters, his joy comes from their successes in life. His ability to be able to hold and rock his grandchildren, is something he had never envisioned, and always wished for his father.
Kohyn and Kadence
He walked his daughters down the aisle to wonderful son-in-laws, and smiles knowing they are happy. How do you measure the success in your life? How do you measure a hero? Why do we go to war? Family. Freedom. Future.
Honor your Veteran today.
Honor your hero today.
Who is the wind beneath your wings?
Happy Veteran's Day!
Enjoy the Journey!