The first time I met Jack Howard (at the time ~ my future father-in-law) I was walking back to my office in the Naval Reserve Center at Staten Island, NY when he came barreling through the main entrance of the building ~like freight train~ stopped short when he saw me, came to a very military-like attention & saluted me. I’ll admit I giggled at that, gave him a mock salute & asked “May I help you, Sir?” to which he replied, “Ya got a great pair of gams on ya for a Navy Gal! I’m looking for Petty Officer First Class Luke Howard!” I’ll admit, I had to laugh at that! I knew immediately who he was and I said, “You must be his dad.” (Something about his facial expression ~ there was a resemblance there.) Regardless, over the past 28 years, I came to know my father in law perhaps better than most with regard to his War experience. We talked a lot about the military, and his service in WWII. I don’t know for certain, but he may have told me things about his service that he held back from many others. Maybe, it was because I am a girl ~ AND a veteran ~ I’ll never know. But ~ indeed ~ I loved him & I remember actually crawling up on his lap (as an adult) and crying when own mother died a few years ago ~ & he comforted me ~ as a father would.
So ~ this is what I know about John Howard. John Howard, was a son, husband, father, grandfather & great grandfather. Above all, he was an American! He was a Patriot and an Army Veteran of the United States 2nd World War. As a member of the United States Army 4th Ranger Battalion, John Howard distinguished himself further to earn the following: • Distinguished Service Medal • Soldier’s Medal (army) • European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal • WWII Victory Medal • Presidential Unit Citation Medal • Purple Heart & a Combat Infantryman Badge w/Cluster.
Beyond the façade of the flirtatious (sometimes outrageous) jokester & happy-go-lucky man, I saw a man who (not unlike my own father) was a man of his times. A time where boys had to become men much too early and hid their emotions for fear of being called out as weaklings or cowards. My father in law, John Howard, was such a man ~ but I never doubted his affection for me nor the love he had for his children & their children. John Howard was a true “Original” and one whom I am more than proud to have called “Dad”. ~dfh~
“Dear God, Please bless my father, John Howard, a true patriot, American & hero of our country, our family & devoted servant of Jesus Christ, our Lord & Savior. AMEN”