Anderson taught family love of country

Published 4:29 pm Monday, August 26, 2013

My father was MSgt Harry E. Anderson, “Andy” to those who knew him.

MSgt Harry E. Anderson, “Andy”

MSgt Harry E. Anderson, “Andy”

He retired from the Air Force after 23 years of service, most of which was spent in the Far East.

He grew up in a very small town in the Midwest in a very modest four-room house. His big brother, Clifford, joined the Marines at a young age, mostly to support his mother, brother and sister as his father passed away when they were all young. Andy followed his brother’s lead, enlisting in the Air Force where he was tested and put into the emerging field of electronics. He wanted to be a carpenter, but he was good at electronics. He was so good, in fact, they soon had him teaching radar maintenance at Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Miss. for many years.

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From Keesler, he went to Okinawa not once but three times, and the island served as home turf as he went to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and various other nearby locations working on radars that were critical to the efforts in the Vietnam conflict. He was a “no nonsense” kind of guy, easily adapting the rules and regulations of being military and instilling that same sense of military discipline into my three siblings and myself; three of the four later joined the military ourselves. How he managed to raise four kids on a sergeant’s pay will always be a mystery to me, but we had a very good life.

We were privileged to spend five years in two tours on Okinawa and three years on the island of Kauai, Hawaii among other places. He made it a point to take us to see all the sights… from the military memorials on Okinawa to the glorious waterfalls of Hawaii. Even when we were stationed back in the states we would tour the country… taking in such wonderful American scenes as Yellowstone Park, Mount Rushmore, Royal Gorge and Pikes Peak.

He was very proud of this country and very proud to wear the uniform. He taught us to appreciate everything our country has to offer by doing us the greatest of favors, allowing us to live among the people of another country, showing us how very privileged we were as Americans. He taught us to respect the differences in people, respect the President of the United States whether you voted for him or not, appreciate the sense of family the military gave us and above all, he taught us that people are people… color, religion, politics and gender made no difference. Do what is expected, do the best you can and help out your fellow man whenever possible were his philosophies. He was always tinkering with a neighbor’s television, putting another room on grandma’s house or making furniture for our rooms… little tasks with big rewards.