Dec. 2, 2003 Oxnard Ventura County California, USA
By Bruce Lowry Hagan:
It's time that I write about my Dad. I was visiting Dad in the hospital the other day and while talking to Mom I remembered something that used to happen when I was a little boy. We would have to go to bed and Mom would put us in. We would hear Dad walking down the hall and we would start squealing "Daddy, tuck us in!" We would lie flat on our backs, ramrod straight preparing to be tucked in. Dad would come in and starting at our feet he would use both hands at the same time and jam the covers tightly around and under us, each in our turn. He would kiss us on the forehead and gruffly say "Night" and then try to hide the smile as he walked out. Behind him was a room full of kids wiggling and giggling. He was always there helping us, picking us up and putting us on some fence or something. I was always amazed at how strong he was and how effortlessly he could pick us up and set us down on something over our heads. He taught me how to use a hammer and how to pull a nail. He showed me the right way to use a saw. He told us stories of the war filled with bravery and honor. He knew everything, and even when I was very little I wanted to know all he knew. I realized in my teenage years that he had also been teaching us other things. Honesty, respect and honor. He didn't lecture us much, he showed us by the way he lived, with honesty and honor and respect for other people. He is always sticking up for the little guy and always willing to give someone a chance. Some of my friends and foster brothers he gave more than their fair share of chances. That's just the way he is; he is my biggest hero and always has been. Last year we had a big family deal at my younger brother's house and Dad was well enough to come over. He came in through the garage so he wouldn't have to negotiate the steps in front and watching him walk with his cane I realized how frail he had become. He got to the doorsill into the house and he held out his free hand to me. I hooked an arm for him to hold onto and helped him into the house. At that point it hit me, we had come full circle. When I was little he was always giving me a hand up, and now it was my turn to give him a hand. That's what Dads do. I've been a Dad for a long time now and I've always tried to raise my kids the same way Dad raised his kids. I know someday he will be gone. And he is the last of my heroes. I know that when the last of my heroes are gone it will be my turn to step up and try to be the hero. I will do my best to be the hero, to be honest, kind, and honorable. I will do this because the kind of man I am now will reflect on him and I want to be a beacon to the world and shine the light on my Dad. And show everyone in the world exactly what a quite hero is and what a good man he is. My little life has had some high highs and some very low lows. I've climbed many mountains and every time I reach the top of one I see another mountain yet to climb. I will climb all the mountains ahead of me as my Father has done before me; he has shown me how to scale them. And I will teach my kids how to climb the mountains, because this is what Dads do. And this I will gladly do to honor my Father. But sometimes, when the mountains are very steep, I wish, and if I could, just one more time go back and say, "Daddy, tuck us in!"
Thank you Dad, for showing me what it takes to be a hero.
PS On December 2, 2003 the last of my heroes passed on. These thoughts still hold true and I will do my best to become the hero my Dad was. This I promise you Dad.
Carl Wayne Hagan (son of James Stuart Hagan and Bessie Mark) was born December 24, 1916 in Mercer County, MO. He married Mina Louise Phillips on July 04, 1944 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, daughter of Benjamin Franklin Phillips and Hattie Geneva Holtzclaw. Carl Wayne Hagan was born on December 24, 1916. He was born in Lindley Twsp, Mercer Co, Missouri on a cold winter night. Missouri was then a picture of the past. Small towns and farmland dominated the landscape, and the most common form of transportation was the horse and buggy. There were about 3 houses every mile. He was the ninth of ten children-four girls and six boys. Carl was closest to Ferril, his younger brother. Carl's family was Methodist. In the days before the family had a car, they went to a Baptist church because it was 1.5 miles closer than the Methodist church. The farm had a lot of crops and bee hives on it. The family ate large, heavy meals because of the hard labor required on the farm. There was always fresh fruit in season because of the orchards, and plenty of honey and corn. They were also provided with meat, milk, eggs, and other vegetables from the farm. Carl wore old hand-me-down bib overalls for clothes. Carl remembered President Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt as the famous people of his time. Carl was a Republican, as were his parents. Carl was drafted into the Army during World War II when he was 26 years old. He met Louise Phillips at the Arches, a small restaurant that used to exist at the junction of PCH and the 55 freeway in Newport Beach, California. They began dating that night. She was only 17 at the time, but he didn't know how old she was. They got married in Colorado Springs, Colorado on July 4, 1944. Two weeks after their wedding date, Carl was on the train to go overseas. It would be over a year before they saw each other again. Carl was in the 104th Infantry Division of the US Army, known as the Timberwolf Division. Rising to the rank of Staff Sargent, Carl saw action from landing in Normandy, France, through liberation of several towns in Holland, and into the Nazi Fatherland to meet the Russians at the Mulde River. During the campaign in Holland, he was buried alive by a German tank. The blast came, and he squatted down over his shovel in the foxhole he had been digging. He remained buried with his small pocket of air until his legs couldn't hold him. He dug himself out and searched for survivors. Carl returned home in 1945, and was slated to engage in the Pacific War. He was spared from re-deployment to Japan by the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Carl and Louise lived on Bessie and James Hagan's farm for one year, then moved to California. Linda was born in California (Orange County), and was soon followed by Mark, Bruce, Jerry, Frank, a stillborn boy, and Kathy Hagan. Jerry passed away at age 21 or 22. All of the remaining children were alive at the time of his death. More About Carl Wayne Hagan:Military service: Bet. 1944 - 1945, World War II, Timberwolf Division.Occupation: Carpenter.Residence 1: Bet. 1916 - 1946, Mercer County, MO.Residence 2: Bet. 1946 - 2001, Orange County, California.Residence 3: Aft. 2001, Oxnard, CA. More About Carl Wayne Hagan and Mina Louise Phillips:Marriage: July 04, 1944, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Children of Carl Wayne Hagan and Mina Louise Phillips are: 2 surviving Daughters and 3 surviving Sons and the late Gerald Alan HAGAN (1951-1972).