"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

BGS: My Father’s War


Peter Richmond is a good man, loyal friend, and a gifted writer. Here he is at his best, writing about his father for GQ in December of 1993. The article was the genesis of Richmond’s beautiful memoir, My Father’s War: A Son’s Journey.

To celebrate Father’s Day—and much respect and love to all the dad’s out there—I can think of no finer piece to share with you. Head on over to the Beast and check out–“My Father’s War”:

He survived Guadalcanal, and then New Britain, and then Peleliu, and came home in 1944 to take over the family business, manufacturing paper bags in a gray factory next to the railroad tracks in Long Island City. He married the woman who would become my mother and moved to Westchester County, and died in 1960, at the age of 44, when I was 7, so I never had much of a chance to ask him about his war.

But it was always there. I could hold it to my face. My father’s war was tucked into the trunk that sat in the darkest corner of the cellar: a Japanese flag, stained with Rorschach blotches of blood, the red circle still bright, the field of white crowded with the Japanese characters that identified the man whose blood graced it.

As a child, I spent a lot of time with the flag, running it through my hands, marveling at the liquid feel of the silk, at how different it was from the rest of my father’s memorabilia: the .30-caliber Japanese machine gun, the Japanese hand grenade, the rifles–all of them so inconceivably heavy and redolent of good grease and iron that I knew they carried the real weight of war.

Picture by Bags


1 RIYank   ~  Jun 21, 2015 9:44 am

Thanks, AB, and Peter Richmond.
My dad died four days ago. It was his war, too.
Oh, man. Tough father's day.

2 MSM35   ~  Jun 21, 2015 9:56 am

A few years ago I was sitting in an outdoor square in Central Europe and a man approached speaking Dutch. I got the impression he was thanking me for something. In Europe always look for a young person to translate. A lovely young girl told me he was thanking me for liberating Holland in the war. I told him I couldn't take the credit it was my Dad's generation but thank you anyway. Nice to know they haven't forgotten. Happy Father's Day to all the Dads.

3 rbj   ~  Jun 21, 2015 12:17 pm


4 rbj   ~  Jun 21, 2015 12:19 pm

House money day.

5 Ara Just Fair   ~  Jun 21, 2015 12:27 pm

Top one was a real kick in the nuts. And when YES showed the defensive graphic I thought. "I look forward to some good defense from Didi today.". Grrrrrrrrrrrrr....

6 rbj   ~  Jun 21, 2015 12:33 pm

Tuckered out from all that hitting yesterday.

7 Ara Just Fair   ~  Jun 21, 2015 12:41 pm

This game sucks. Fuck!

8 Ara Just Fair   ~  Jun 21, 2015 12:46 pm

That's better.

9 Ara Just Fair   ~  Jun 21, 2015 12:53 pm

Chip chip chip away.

10 rbj   ~  Jun 21, 2015 12:57 pm

Not out of the game yet

11 thelarmis   ~  Jun 21, 2015 1:41 pm

jesus. another bomb for j.d.

12 rbj   ~  Jun 21, 2015 1:44 pm

Tanaka was bound to have a bad game

13 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Jun 21, 2015 1:51 pm

Tough night. Sitting on a roof top in Rome, sipping wine and watching the sun go down. The wife can't understand why I'm listening to the yanks.

14 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Jun 21, 2015 2:07 pm


15 rbj   ~  Jun 21, 2015 2:07 pm

I've got a bathroom to clean

16 thelarmis   ~  Jun 21, 2015 2:47 pm

so much for our run diff...

17 rbj   ~  Jun 21, 2015 3:08 pm

Last night's game was much more fun.

18 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 21, 2015 6:04 pm

1) Oh, man. My heart goes out to you, brother. Big hugs.

Shoot, I forgot to post the game thread. Oh, well. Sorry about that, guys.

19 Boatzilla   ~  Jun 22, 2015 12:22 am

[18] Just as well. This one should be forgotten before it's remembered.

20 Boatzilla   ~  Jun 22, 2015 12:24 am

[1] Sorry, man. Take care. In May, we scattered my Dad's ashes in Pearl Harbor. He was on the USS Tennessee during the attack.

21 The Mick536   ~  Jun 22, 2015 6:58 am

My Dad was in New Guinea. Came home broken. Died when I was a kid, too. Never talked about the war. Mom said he brought it home and it killed him. Teeth and hair fell out. Bumps grew on his body. Early agent orange, maybe. Never know.

As for Steven Drew, just when you think he has had it, he hits it. Meaningless?

22 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Jun 22, 2015 10:32 am

[1] so sorry, you will always remember his virtues and the origins of your own behavior.

WWII was my dad's war as well. Flew on B-29s over "The Hump". He died over 25 years ago, a youngish man of 69. I think about him at some point every day.

He loved the Yankees...

23 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 22, 2015 11:13 am

21) I'm so sorry for your dad's experience.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver