Sandy McCoy, a technician in the Cobb County Public Library System’s Technical Operations Department, reflects on her father’s military service and quiet sacrifice. A.I. Carlisle and three of his brothers served their country in World War II.

My parents came of age in the late 1930s and early 1940s. They were among the young adults who fought World War II and the ones at home who kept the country going and provided for the troops. Tom Brokaw called them The Greatest Generation.

A.I. Carlisle

My father, A.I. Carlisle, left school and home at the tender age of 17 to enlist in the Army.

He was the product of a family of devout Methodist farmers and had never traveled away from his little pocket of the world in south Alabama. He was very young and eager to join the war effort before it was all over. To say he was naïve would be an understatement.

The boy went marching off to war but he grew up quickly. As an adult, he was never able to talk much about his war experiences.

We never heard what it was like to wade ashore on Omaha Beach but we read in letters he wrote home to his mother, my grandmother Mary, the accounts of a lake resort he was sent to for a brief break from the battlefields.

We never heard him complain of the bitter cold that left his feet dark and tender for the rest of his life, but we did hear of the big European snows and his amazement at the skiers who would ski jump across the mountain roads.

He came home with a Silver Star among his medals and we never heard the story that led up to that award.

Despite the terrible memories he harbored, he was able to somehow put them aside after the war and make a good life. That took another kind of courage and fortitude. Thank you, Daddy, for being a true American hero and a member of The Greatest Generation.

My Father’s Unspoken Courage
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