FRIDAY FICKS: An absolutely brilliant legacy

Published on Friday, 25 November 2022 10:16
Written by Carl R. Ficks, Jr.

Friday Ficks

"Staff Sergeant Carl R. Ficks is hereby Honorably Discharged from the military service of the United States of America. This certificate is awarded as a testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service to this Country."  So it is written on my father's discharge papers, as delivered to him on 11 March 1946 by the "Army of the United States." He was given $5.45 in travel pay so he could get home to Hartford from Fort Devens, Mass., along with $300 in "mustering out pay" ($100 down).

The discharge papers tell a bit more of his story. He was drafted out of high school in 1943 and two years later, departed from a west coast loading port on 22 May 1945, arriving at his port of destination in Guam (Asiatic Pacific Theater) on 15 June 1945. He remained in Guam until 13 February 1946, when he shipped out for the United States and arrived two weeks later on 27 February 1946. During his length of service, he collected the Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Medal, the American Theater Campaign Ribbon and the Asiatic Pacific Theater Campaign Ribbon.

Like many WWII veterans, my father rarely spoke about his "Honest and Faithful Service" to this country. Rather, he simply chose to exemplify it in the quiet manner in which he lived his life, including honest and faithful service to his wife (my mother), his daughter and two sons, employers, friends, neighbors and community. 

I found a letter written to my mother shortly after my Dad died in 2009. The author, once a young neighbor of my family in Stamford watched his own father's battle with alcohol. In the letter, he poignantly told my mother about the "great kindness that Mr. Ficks bestowed upon our family during the darkest days of my Dad's long struggle with alcohol. With patience, understanding and incredible grace, Mr. Ficks showed us what it meant to show sincere empathy for others...few men that I've met in life walk this Earth with the kind of cheer, friendship, honesty, love and grace that he did...what an absolutely brilliant legacy."

I'm proud of all veterans for their "Honest and Faithful Service" to this country. I'm even more proud of the life my father lived after his discharge, a life captured so eloquently in the words of a former neighbor. Amazingly, this letter was written 37 years after we moved from Stamford to Berlin, yet the memories for the author remained fresh, the impression indelible.

We have just recognized Veterans Day 2022 and in honor of this great day, think about who you can serve honestly and faithfully in furtherance of building your own "absolutely brilliant legacy."

Carl Ficks helps busy professionals and their teams get back in the fitness game to reduce stress and increase productivity. He practiced law in New Britain for many years and is a proud member of the Generale Ameglio Society. He has run and cycled thousands of miles and competed in dozens of races, so when you're ready to get back in the game, email him at carl@carlficks.com.



Posted in Newington Town Crier, Newington News on Friday, 25 November 2022 10:16. Updated: Friday, 25 November 2022 10:18.