This is my very first diary. I've enjoyed reading other people's diaries and commenting, but today was the first time I felt moved enough to write one of my own. Because the buried Teddy today and it made me aware, more than ever before, of how tied my memories of my Father are to the Kennedy's.
My grandparents came to this country from Ireland. My grandfather was from Galway and my grandmother from a small town in County Cavan called Bailieborough. They met here in the late 1910's, married and raised a family in Hoboken, NJ. My dad was born there in 1922.
My grandfather was a brick layer and didn't work much during the depression. He quit a job once because the boss was English. My grandmother cleaned other people's houses when she could and my father and his older brother, John, sold newspapers to support the family from the time my father was 9 years old. It was not an easy life.
When he was 20 he went off to fight the war. He was in the 82nd Airborne, 325th glider infantry. At the Battle of the Bulge he was very badly wounded. He took 4 machine gun bullets to his leg. His life was saved by a boy, a German medic, who took off my father's belt and made a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. He wasn't supposed to walk again, but he refused not to. He only had the slightest limp that I ever noticed. You couldn't see it, but you could hear it in his footfall.
Eventually, he married my mother, who was a WAC during the war. They met in an army hospital in W. Virginia. They moved to Washington DC and my father went to work for the Dept. of the Army as a federal employee.
He, like the rest of his family, were Democrats. My uncle John was a union worker, my Uncle Bill belonged to the teacher's union and their brother in law, my Uncle Joe, was a policeman. They were democrats, as were their parents, as were all my cousins and my siblings.
My father hated Dick Nixon. With a passion. Like I hated the Bush administration and Ronald Reagan. He loved John Kennedy. He loved the Kennedys. They were Irish Catholics and they stood for the things my father stood for.
My grandfather's name was Joseph P. Moran. Joseph P., like Joe Kennedy.
I was 6 during the '60 campaign. I barely, only vaguely remember Eisenhower as president. Politics really hadn't entered my consciousness yet. I do remember how much my parents wanted Jack to win. I remember campaign buttons.
The night of the election I had to go to bed before anyone knew who won. My mother woke me up for school the next morning and I heard my father walking down the hall past my bedroom. That footfall with the ever so slight limp. I yelled out "Daddy! Who won!" My father opened the door and with a huge smile on his face he said "We did!"
That was my earliest memory of politics. The joy on my father's face.
When my sister, Erin, was just 3 years old, the President was on the tv, I'm not sure if it was the news or he was making a speech, but my mom said to her, "Erin, do you know who that man is?" My little sister looked at the tv and said, "Yeah, he's the man who brought me home from the hospital." My mother wrote the President a letter to tell him that.
My husband doesn't understand how it is to be Irish and why the Kennedys mean so much and meant so much to my family. He doesn't understand that in some way it's like they were extended members of our own family. Strong jaws and freckles and Irish, like us. My sister told me she had a crush on my Uncle Bill when she was 7 because she thought he looked like a Kennedy.
When Jack was killed something went out of my father. He had always bordered on depression from his war experience, I think. But when that happened - I don't think he ever really recovered from it. The first time I saw my father cry was watching the funeral.
He didn't support Bobby. Bobby was against the war and my father thought, like so many of his generation, that if your country called you, you went. You didn't question, you went.
People who didn't live during the Vietnam war don't really understand that the veterans who came home were not the only people who were effected by it. They don't know that families were damaged, that relationships between fathers and sons and daughters were fractured. Our family was.
My brother, Sean, didn't register for the draft and the FBI came to our house. My father didn't talk to my brother for 2 years. Living in the same house.
When Bobby was killed I think that was my awakening to the war. I was 15. I knew the war was going on, it was on tv every night. I watched Bobby's funeral all alone. My father left the house that day. I think he really didn't want to see it. Not again. Not to see the Kennedys, because he loved the Kennedys, not to see them that way again.
Something in my father died. I truly believe that. He sunk into depression, became an alcoholic. He died in 1981 when he was 59.
He's buried at Arlington. On a hill overlooking the Pentagon. With my mother who died 3 months after he did of a broken heart. He never wanted to be buried anywhere else.
I have always felt proud that my parents are buried in that cemetery with Jack and Bobby. And now Teddy.
My Dad, Peter J. Moran
Update [2009-8-31 3:50:12 by Kevanlove]: Thank you all for reading my first dairy and being so very nice!