Friday, January 15, 2016

Remembering My Father

It was three years ago that I got the call that my father had passed away in the night. He went quickly from Pulmonary Fibrosis which doctors link to a scarring of his lungs from a "toxic substance" at the ages of 25-26. It was during the ages of 25-26 that my father Luis Eduardo Rosas-Luca was then an Avionics Specialist 4th Class serving in the United States Army in Vietnam where he had been repeatedly been exposed to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange in an effort to deprive the Viet Cong of the sanctuary of the jungle for cover. My father lived an extraordinary life despite being shortened by ten years, he left large shoes to fill which to this day I continue to struggle to fill.
Since that time I had attempted to unite the surviving family in vain. No one can say I didn't try. But in that time I did accomplish one mission he never completed and that was to return of W.O. Douglas Niles's dog tags which I took to the Vietnam Memorial Wall when I went there this last June to induct my father into the Vietnam Memorial Fund's Virtual Honor Roll. And while some of my efforts bore no lasting fruit, the work continues as we work on a screen play dramatizing the story of his tour in Vietnam and continue to sell copies of his book MY FATHERS WAR IN VIETNAM AND THE LONG SHADOW OF THE HON CONG MOUNTAIN. And as we hold a private memorial service for him today at our Koyasan Buddhist Temple (for which he was given the honor of being presented a posthumous Buddhist name) we continue to remember all that he had taught us and the example by which he chose to live by. We hope somewhere out there he's pleased with our efforts. But there is much more to do and we must be ever mindful that as we continue to carry on his legacy, we too are creating our own legacy and must never forget those who came before us and showed us how to live. Until we meet again, smile from heaven dad because we are thinking of you.
Just as my fingernails are stained with the pigment from balsam flowers,
my heart is painted with the teachings of my parents.
Although the stars in the sky are countable,
the teachings of my parents are not.
Just as ships that run in the night are guided to safety by the North star,
I am guided by my parents who gave birth to me and watch over me. 
-Chinsagu No Hana