I have a natural affinity for anything with knobs, buttons, keys, screens, speakers, and sliders, which began at 13 when I earned my ham radio license. My father, an electrical engineer, passed on his love for technology to me through both nurture and nature. Together we would talk to the world (to well over 100 countries) through both voice and morse code. We were part of ham radio clubs and participated in weekend contests. When he retired and I began teaching, we would also talk daily on 2 meters, a radio frequency designed for short distance communications.
When Dad was a child in the 1930s, he built an early version of a television and dabbled with radios and antennas. In World War II, he became a Marine Staff Sergeant in charge of a 20 man radio crew, setting up communications in Pacific theater battlefields.
When the Internet became a reality, Dad bought his first PC (I’m sure he’d be a Mac guy by now) and although toward the end of his life we lived in the same house, he would email me and my small children special stories just so he could have fun with the new technology. These were the days before Mosaic and browsers when FTPing was the norm and we all used 2400 baud modems. The Internet was an exciting place and joy was simply being able to access AP news on your computer.
Despite his short life of 75 years, he saw a extensive spectrum of technological changes. If Victor Carozza was still alive, he would have an iPhone, an iPad, and a very fast desktop. He’d be a texter, a blogger, a Facebooker, and his house would be networked. He would probably enjoy helping me with my monthly podcast, dabble into screencasts, and he’d be into digital photography. He would also teach ham radio in my school like we did together in the early 90s. Much has changed since Vic went home, not the least is seeing his grandchildren grow up and embrace technology like he did.
Technology has been such a large part of my teaching and educational leadership. The seed was sown in 1945 in a small hut on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa in the East China Sea, with a 24 year old man stringing up antennas, running coaxial cables, and plugging in transmitters and receivers. Vic Carozza knew he could use his skills to serve his country and while he never glorified his role, he had pride in his country and the part he played in ensuring freedom a half a century ago. He also loved teaching me how to use technology to communicate and teach.
On this United States Veteran’s Day 2010, I honor Victor Carozza, my favorite Vet.
Here’s a postscript from my brother Jim:
I remember Dad telling me about his participation in the first landing on Okinawa — Easter Sunday (and April Fool’s Day) 1945. The Marines were served a pre-dawn meal of steak and eggs — an old tradition that served as a last meal for many men.
I found a harrowing account of this landing in the following book extract:
Amazing how similar this is to Dad’s recollection. I once remarked to Dad that his war experience must be with him every day of his life; he just sniffed and wordlessly shook his head yes.