Saturday, July 5, 2014

Francis Horace Saunders and his time in the US Army

On this 4th of July weekend I'm thinking of my Dad, Francis Horace Saunders and the time he spent in the US Army.

Whether someone has enlisted voluntarily or was told to show up the time they spend in the service  has to assist in molding who they become once they leave. It's in this thought that I'm thinking of my dad.

He was in the Army for 2 years (1952-1954). Two years is not a huge part of ones life. When I look back on the few things he shared with me, I can't help but think of how this time helped to shape who he became once he left.

Here are a few things he shared with me:

He understood he belonged to the army for the time he was enlisted and they basically owned him.  He would do what ever was asked without complaint while he was there. 
I took this as positive thing, as he never spoke negatively of his time in the service. It was his way accepting his responsibility.

At one point he was a surgical technician and I'm not sure if anything unpleasant happened or not but it left him with huge fear of going under anesthesia. This went to the point of him going all the way to Canada for a  hernia operation. At the time Canada would perform this type of surgery without going under a general anesthesia.

Another time he was stationed at the Frankfurt Army Center as an instructor. He was teaching servicemen on general education skills. He shared how many students didn't have a strong educations from school, but were very intelligent in there own way. An example being what is learned being raised on a farm. He shared  how he appreciated there were different kinds of educations. 

His Father was a Veterinarian and it was expected that his son would follow in his footsteps. My dad went to Veterinary school as was expected, and in the end it never came to be. My dad shared with me what he really wanted to do was become a college teacher. He really enjoyed teaching during his time in the service.  I asked him once if he had told his dad he wanted to be a teacher, would his dad been supportive of him. He said yes, his dad would of supported anything he had wanted to do. As usually happens this realization didn't occur to him until later in life.

As a side note:
the thought of my dad around a ton of college girls makes me laugh and wince a little.
It might not of ended well as he was quite the ladies man and might of ran into trouble with all the EEO rules. :-)

A special shout out to all the serviceman/women and who they will become because of their service to this wonderful country.

Thank you for sharing your time with me.


  1. Wow, Susan, your dad looks so young in that one photo!

  2. Susan, Thank you for this post. Reading it, I learned more about my cousin Frank, your dad, than I ever knew before. Sometimes it takes me a few days to get up the courage to read your posts, because I feel so hugely disconnected from the family... and I'm not sure any of us feel all that "connected", either. But you are helping me overcome my misgivings because whatever you post is always positive and interesting. Thanks for being here.

    1. Hi Martha, It’s interesting that you mention feeling so disconnected from the family. I often felt the same way growing up. For me it was like really nice strangers that would meet up once a year or so. I'm thankfully that we’ve continued to stay in contact that feeling of disconnect has faded. XOXOXO

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