Gary Justis

Gary Justis
Bloomington, Illinois, US
April 04
Gary Justis has worked primarily in the area of kinetic sculpture for the last 34 years. He lived and worked in Chicago from 1977 to 1999. He currently resides in Bloomington Illinois, where he teaches and writes stories about his actual experiences. (please take a look at his "Sculpture" link for more info)


Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 11, 2011 8:24AM

Remembering the Quiet Veteran

Rate: 19 Flag

  Dad sailor 1942 b

 George V Justis    1943     Senior Medical Corpsman

serving primarily in the Pacific Theater 



In the times I have stood and thought of this marvelous man, a stoic provider of safety and light, of reassurance…of beginnings, of time and glory, of the day, of the night without fear, of knowing… of laughter, of straight talk, of work and holding down pain, and striking wrongs from the dark forces until the tissue of wayward worlds dissolved; until there was no hunger, or any real sense of doing without… of joy and the things that propelled our sadness into the pit of silent plagues….



Dad and Greg 1951
Dad and my brother Gregory Justis, 1951


In those times I wanted to stand close to the man in the center, just as every young man wanted to be close to him; close to Dad, in his splendid light, forming the sounds and substance of the munificent space around him. 


I do not remember any task, any challenge that was beyond his capabilities. In WAR, he shared the skills and determined actions that would rebuild the world.


He did…they did, the men and women of our war…without regret for their sacrifice, with labor and resolve, holding back the waves of subjugation that swept over innumerable parts of the earth…with courage and resolve, they hammered down the darkness…



Dad Salor 1942


George V Justis, 1943



For all the joys and small sacrifices I have made, for all the love and devotion I have given and received, for the place I might have undeservedly occupied in your heart, I honor you...I love you so much Dad... you and the ones who endured many sleepless nights, and selflessly shared those countless, immeasurable burdens of grief and human discord; all of you, both the living and the dead, triumphant, well beyond the bounds of your duties and sacrifices...




This post first appeared on Open Salon May 30, 2010.

It was titled: “Thoughts on Memorial Day”

I feel the content applies for Veteran’s Day as well.

In honoring my father, I hope to honor all people who have served and sacrificed

for all of us.




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In remembrance of all veterans, a lovely tribute, Gary.
You honored him well. You were so fortunate to have such a man as your father.
Thank you folks....his generation is leaving us very quickly. I hope everyone can sit down with their parents and either record, or write down their experiences.
Beautiful. You look a lot like your dad Gary. My dad too was a vet and his birthday was today, I am remembering him through your post too. Thanks for this.
Always Rita...thank you....
Interestingly enough, Gary, my dad's dad was a decorated medical corpsman in the Navy in the Pacific. We kids never heard a word about his service until he passed. My dad brought out a framed silver star and the citation and that has taken a place of honor in his home.

This is a beautiful piece.
Great tribute gary
i remember quietly applauding when i read this the first time. i'm doing so again - for your father, for mine, for all the men and women who did what they did.
Remembering all those who served through this piece ...
"In the times I have stood and thought of this marvelous man, a stoic provider of safety and light"

I salute you and your dad with the words to a love song I only recently discovered David Gates had written to honor his dad:

Everything I Own

You sheltered me from harm
Kept me warm, Kept me warm
You gave my life to me
Set me free, Set me free
The finest years I ever knew,
We're all the years I had with you

And I would give everything I own,
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own
Just to have you back again.

You taught me how to love,
What its all, all above
You never said too much
But still you showed the way
In my new, I'm watching you
Nobody else will ever know
The part of me that can't let go

And I would give everything I own,
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own
Just to have you back again.

Is there someone you know
You're loving them so
But taking them all for-granted
You may lose them one day
Someone takes them away
And they don't hear the words you long to say

And I would give everything I own,
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own
Just to have you back again.
Just to touch you once again
What a great, good, eulogy for an honorable man.
You've done a justice to all Veterans, and all fathers. Thanks for sharing.
Gary this was just beautiful. -R-
Very lovely Gary. My Aunt is a WWII vet - a WAC who served in London- she is 90 but she died last night (so I guess I should say she "was" but it is too new). She started writing her life story a couple of years ago, so we do have a partial record. We were lucky to have her, and in good health, for such a long time.
Thoughtful and powerful writing.
Beautiful writing and a lovely testimony to the place and power of good people. I often wonder if the silence and unspoken hearts we often think of simply as the nature of men, is in fact the nature of men who have lived through war, or have been raised by men who have survived war. Just a thought I often ponder...and your title brings it to mind again.
Thanks for the re-post. We've commiserated before about our father's service in the Pacific. Mine was US Army, a Division known as the Wildcats.
Most of them that returned were reticent to speak of their sacrifices and horror. I look back and wonder today and can see him in the mirror as you must also.
This is a wonderful tribute to all veterans. Just because we are specific does not mean we leave anyone out! My late Uncle was in the Army in the Pacific and my late father-in-law was in the Army in Europe during WWII. My Uncle had many stories to tell as he stayed in for a career, well two really.
FusunA, thank you….

Zanelle, everyday, I think of him and how fortunate I am. He takes care of all of us,
even though he’s gone…

thank you FLW….always good to see you and best wishes.

Hello Nancy, Isn’t it incredible how members of that generation didn’t consider themselves heroes? I know your family is honored by this. Thank you for sharing this Nancy.

Thsank you Linda…hugs to you too!

Femme, Yes for all of the Greatest Generation….thank you.

Bleue..You are welcome dear friend..

Scarlett, That pleases me so much…

Tom, I know the song. It is beautiful, and it goes straight to my heart….thank you Tom. Blessings…..
Hello Owl, thank you…

Dan, You are welcome, thanks for your visit.

Thank you Christine.

Kelly, I hope you can edit her memoir. Thanks for the sweet comment.

Keven, thank you for coming by.

Laura, this is a thoughtful, poetic comment, and it is deeply moving. I posted it to my FB page

Also, We both see our fathers this way…it used to haunt me, but now I am fascinated.

Pastvoices, What a blessing to have heard the stories. Thank you for the kind comment.
Thank you for this, Gary. My dad was also a hospital corpsman in the Navy, and he would have appreciated this tribute.
Sigh -- I get all teary-eyed reading this -- It is so wonderful to read about a loving, heroic, strong dad. You honor your father with your eloquence (& you DO look like him...)
Father of light begat son of light.