After all the acknowledgement from relatives that I have never met and friends that had gather for my Fathers’ departure. Its’ good to know that what he work for was not forgotten. General MacArthur said “Old Soldiers never die; they just fade away. And after 34 years in the military like General MacArthur. He fade away his military career and start his life as a civilian.
You see I remember growing up with my father when he was in the military. I never understood him. It didn’t help when I’m growing up being influence by the Beatles and Woodstock. And him fighting in Vietnam coming home to see me with long hair embracing the PEACE Movement and not supporting what he was fighting for. If the shoe is turned around and knowing a little about his career in the military. I would feel devastated to see one of my family against what I’m was fighting for.
We join our father in Forth Bragg NC in 1958. Were he was assigned after coming back hone from the DMZ zone in Korea. No sooner was he with us. When he got the called to join the fighting in The Vietnam War. It is fortunate for us we have our Mother (Connie short for Conception) who raised us when father is fighting overseas.
I remember Mother have to work two sometimes three jobs to supplement my Fathers income. She work very hard depriving herself of personal luxury so we can attend College to improve our status in life. She was so happy when four of us completed College. She never complain. Even saddled with hard work. She has time to start the first Filipino Society in Fayetteville, NC. Thru hard times and good times Mother was there. She created wealth for my Father and introduce him to the civilian life which she know will come when he leaves the Service. She made it all possible for my Father to enjoy the benefit of her hard work. When my mother past away. My father was so devastated. I remember him saying that he was suppose to go first. Maybe that has change my father’s behavior. It was later in his life after my Mothers past away that he say, “Don’t Worry be Happy” and also re-married to Florinda (Linda) second wife. Who do not know what my Father was like when the Family was growing up.
The 5 Children:
So after reading the Fayetteville Observer that read: (with their Permission granted)
After experiencing the dark evil of war, Jesus Rabano decidedto love life. Rabano, a retired Army master sergeant, died Sunday and was buried Thursday. He was 94.
Rabano survived the Bataan Death March, one of the worst atrocities in World War II. His wife, Florinda, said he became a happy person.
“He loved life,” she said. “Wherever we go, he befriends everybody.” Mrs. Rabano said her husband told her about brutalities soldiers endured during the march in April 1942. He told her that of 250 soldiers in his group, only 100 survived.
During the 60-mile march, Japanese troops would randomly pick one of the soldiers and make him dig his own grave. They would then blindfold him, make him kneel and cut off his head, she said.
Rabano told his wife the soldiers were only given a ball of rice and a canteen of water for the trip. He believed he survived because he did not eat and drink it all immediately.
“He saved it,” she said. After the march, the soldiers who were still alive had to ride 30 more miles on a crowded train. “The boxcar was so airtight that some soldiers suffocated,” Mrs. Rabano said.
Rabano, who was in the famous Filipino Scouts unit, was released from a prisoner-of-war camp when the Philippines were liberated in 1943. He later served in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Mrs. Rabano said her husband served in Fort Bragg’s 20th Engineer Battalion and helped build a bridge that was the longest in Vietnam at the time.
“He was so proud of his military service,” she said.
After retiring with more than 34 years in the Army, Rabano was a longtime civilian employee at Fort Bragg and became a leader in Fayetteville’s Filipino community. Mrs. Rabano said her husband was an architect who helped design a number of buildings in the area.
Mrs. Rabano said her husband’s two favorite sayings were “Don’t worry. Be happy,” and “Take it as it comes.”
“Those were the two things he always said to everybody, and to me, because I worry too much,” she said.
Rabano’s daughter, Esther Thompson, said she and the other children learned that their father’s strict ways prepared them for life.
“Don’t worry, Dad, we will be happy,” she said.
Another daughter, Eleanor McCroskey, said Rabano was a brave and courageous man.
“I salute you and I love you very much,” she said.
Mrs. Rabano said her husband was a survivor even during the last few days of his life.
“He was fighting for his life,” she said. “He wanted to live, but the Lord said it was time to come home.”