My father would be 101 if he were still with us, died at 83 in 2002. He was the son of a violent, abusive, alcoholic father and said that the most important thing he learned from his father was that he didn't want to be like him. After quitting school at 15 to work in the textile mill in Aragon GA, he enlisted in the Army as soon as he turned 18 in 1937 to get away from the craziness at home. After boot camp at Ft. Oglethorpe GA, he was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, which he loved. During World War II, he was part of the 41st Armored Infantry, Second Armored Division. Like many WWII vets, he didn't want to talk much about his war experiences. When the movie Patton with George C. Scott came out in 1970, my senior year in high school, Daddy said, "I don't want to see that movie, but I need to see it to make sure they got it right." When we came out of the theater in Rome GA, Daddy had tears running down his face. He spoke exactly four words: "They got it right." We rode home in silence. Daddy's wartime military decorations included two purple hearts, two bronze stars, and a silver star. He kept in contact with several men with whom he had served. I remember four who came to Georgia to see him over the years--a Florida truck driver, a heavy equipment operator from Illinois, a Wisconsin dairy farmer, and the chief justice of the New York state supreme court. After twelve years of Army that included all of WWII, he came back and worked textile mill work at Goodyear in Rockmart GA for about three years before going to work for Ford at the Atlanta Assembly Plant in Hapeville where he worked from 1952 (the year I was born) until his retirement in 1982. He was a kind, decent man, a Christian and a gentleman. I wish he'd had the opportunity to study engineering because he had the aptitude for it. Ford had an employee suggestion program that would pay awards that were calculated on how much money the idea saved the company. His suggestion awards paid for a big chunk of my college education. He was not a car guy. They were just transportation as far as he was concerned, but he indulged my interest. He said that as long as I was out in the garage working on the '38 Ford pickup (which I bought when I was 14), he knew where I was and knew I wasn't up to mischief or getting in trouble. He and my mother married in October of 1941, just a few months before the US entry into World War II, and they were married 61 years when he died. He had a photographic memory for names--in my years as a pastor, he and my mother would sometimes come to visit the churches I served. The second time there, Daddy was calling everybody by name. He could call off a company roster from WWII when he was past 80. I was an only child; he determined that I would have a better father than he did, and he succeeded at that.