For the past five years, I have had the honor of singing the National Anthem and “God Bless America” on Veterans Day (this Wednesday) for the Lincoln/Sheridan Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 3010.
The ceremony is held outside on the steps of the Veteran’s Memorial Hall in Lincoln and also on Memorial Day at the First Street Cemetery.
In my heart, I have always quietly dedicated my singing on these occasions to my “dad,” Jack H. Christensen.
This year will be no different, other than he passed away in June so this year I will be singing in his memory. And I felt moved to share my thoughts and feelings about him.
Jack wasn’t my biological father. I’ve known him, his wife Genevieve “mom” and their children, Ruth and Tom, since I was 3 years old. Long story short, after my mother died suddenly in 1955 at the age of 47, Jack and Gen rescued me at the age of 15 from an alcoholic, verbal and physically abusive father.
It is they who gave me a sense of worth and value and it is they who encouraged my singing. It is they who led me to the Lord.
Jack passed away on June 1, 2015, just 11 days short of his 93rd birthday. Jack was known for his wicked sense of humor, thirst for knowledge and keen intelligence and honor.
Jack was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 12, 1922. He and his parents immigrated to the United States in 1924 and resided in Oakland.
Jack was a high school football star.
Jack became a United States citizen in September 1944, just prior to shipping out to serve his country in the Fourth Armored Division during World War II, leaving behind his wife and 3-year-old daughter.
Severely wounded during the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, France, Jack lay helpless in the snow and wasn’t found and rescued for several days.
He was sent to a hospital in England and then returned to continue to serve in the war. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
Jack carried shrapnel in his body and endured the pain throughout his life.
Jack was a Godly man, loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
His greatest enjoyment came from spending time with his family, making them laugh and devoting his life to others. Jack was living in Virginia at the time of his death near his son and daughter-in-law. His body was escorted by motorcade and buried at Quantico National Cemetery and the family requested that in lieu of anything else, donations be made to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Rest in peace, Jack. Your legacy will live on and you will never be forgotten.
Susan Joyce is a Lincoln resident. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.