He left behind his newlywed wife, Rose, and set sail as an electrician for the U.S. Navy.
The majority of his service was spent on the Navy aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV-47).
Fortunately, his work as an electrician and his role on the aircraft carrier didn’t interfere with his inability to swim or his potentially problematic seasickness.
“Don’t tell nobody, I couldn’t swim,” Patrick laughed, as he recalled a time when “newbies” in the Navy were thrown overboard when they reached the equator, so he quietly snuck away down below on the ship.
“If they would have thrown me over, we wouldn’t be talking today,” he joked.
Despite his family’s long running commitment to the military, he was the first of his immediate family to join the Navy. He followed after his father who served in World War I with the U.S. Army, and his brothers, Percy and Kenneth, who served in the U.S. Marines in World War II.
In California when he heard the news that the United States would be sending forces to fight the Korean War, he immediately told his father he was going to help.
Together, the two drove for three days straight back to Syracuse for Patrick to enlist and fulfill his desire to serve his country.
It was his role in the military that brought him together with the love of his life, his wife of 65 years, Rosemary.
He arrived in Chicago, his wife’s hometown, for boot camp.
“Luckily, I got my wife for the fact that I knew somebody that was from where she was. He introduced me to her and she didn’t like me,” he laughed. “One night, her and her girlfriend, me and another guy, she was going to go with us, she saw us coming and she just kept on going.”
But a few dates later, the two were smitten.
“We got married right there in Chicago. I could hear people saying, ‘oh, they’ll never be together that long’ because it was less than a few days when we got married but we fooled them and we done it forever,” he said.
She wrote him a letter everyday he was gone at war.
11 days before he returned home at the end of the war, she gave birth to a baby, Donald Patrick Jr., the first of five children.
Patrick Sr. finished out his four years of active duty and went on to serve four years in the Naval Reserves. He and Rose moved their family back to his roots in Fulton in 1959.
They grew their family and he worked hard to provide for them, building several houses in Fulton’s third ward that his son, Donald Patrick Jr., now represents on the Fulton Common Council.
Rose passed away nearly two years ago, but Patrick stays in the home they made with the company of their beloved cat, Smokey.
At 86-years-old, while battling prostate cancer and injuries relative to his service and aging, it’s not often he gets out of the house anymore. After years of wanting to go, the timing was finally right for Patrick Sr. to attend the Honor Flight Syracuse.
Donald Patrick Sr. recalls his time on Honor Flight Syracuse Mission 12.
Together with 79 other veterans, Patrick Sr. was escorted by his daughter, Kimberly Raymond, as a very early morning flight took the group to Washington D.C.
Guided by a police escort, the group visited the many national monuments dedicated to honor the service of all veterans like themselves.
Despite the several stops they made to visit national monuments, Patrick couldn’t pick just one part of the day he enjoyed most- from the monuments to the exuberant homecoming, it was all just unbelievable, he said.
“The whole day was beautiful,” he said, crediting the incredible service from Honor Flight volunteers and the outpouring of respect for all veterans.
“Never in my life thought I would see it like that. It was wonderful. Just wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,” he said through tears.
The Honor Flight ended with a huge homecoming crowd and a welcoming ceremony at Syracuse Airport where hundreds of people waited outside for the arrival of the veterans, waving flags, holding signs, and cheering non-stop.
Nearly 65 years later, Donald Patrick Sr. got the recognition and the welcome home he so greatly deserved.