When I was a boy growing up in southwest North Dakota, I thought my Dad, Whitey Fuglie, was the most patriotic man in America. I know that I heard him say “God Bless America!” at least a hundred times. Maybe 200. Maybe several hundred.
He really was a patriot. A World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy Air Corps, he was shot down over the Pacific and survived. He came home and was a lifetime member of the American Legion and its rowdy cousin, the 40 et 8.
His repeated use of “God Bless America” started like this.
My folks had a houseful of kids. The one thing my Mother would not abide was my Dad using swear words around the kids. One day my Dad was in the basement hammering on some boards and he hit his thumb with a hammer (or something like that).
He started to let loose a sting of swear words, starting with “God ….” and my Mother, at the top of the stairs, hollered, “Whitey!” My Dad was quick on his feet, and he recognized trouble, so he finished with “Bless America.” I can hear them still, to this day: “God … Whitey! … Bless America!”
It became vernacular. When he’d miss a putt, or a pheasant, I’d hear “God Bless America!”
And that’s my memory of my Dad, the patriot Whitey Fuglie, on this Father’s Day, 2023. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. God Bless You. And God Bless America!
GOD! … WHITEY! … BLESS AMERICA!