I was going to post a blog about something else entirely this morning. Something lighter, on an entirely different subject, but then I remembered what this date was. I realized there is no other more appropriate subject and that I needed to post this instead...
I grew up in the 50s when most dads were also vets of WWII. I grew up in places where there was always an Army & Navy surplus store. These stores gave us belts, canteens, knapsacks, helmets (liners actually) which we used to play "war" where we'd pretend to be heroes and die in a hail of imaginary bullets trying to take an imaginary machine gun nest. We would always get up afterward and go home for lunch or dinner. So many of those who went to that war did not and never would have lunch or dinner with their families again. As a child, I never thought much about that, it was just play. An adventure for an hour, something to do on a summer's afternoon. As an adult, and a veteran of the Vietnam War, my view of war has changed. I have studied, in recent years, events of World War II. I have watched old newsreels and battlefield films and pictures. I have read books and queried those mostly silent vets of the WWII era trying to understand how they managed to get through it. Mr. Brokaw calls them the Greatest Generation. That is a good description. Though even that seems to fall short. But I do not think they feel, or felt, that way about themselves. They went off to that war with fear and hope in their hearts, they went enthusiastically and reluctantly, they were cautious and reckless, brave and afraid, they were wounded and killed and had narrow escapes, and they watched friends die. They saw horrors we cannot imagine and they accomplished something that had to be accomplished. I shudder to think what this world would be like today if they had not succeeded. I wonder if any generation since, the ones who have benefited from their sacrifice, could have done as well.
We cannot thank them enough.
I wrote the above as a comment in response to Tom Brokaw's opinion piece in the Wall St Journal. I urge you to read his piece also.
A Night Unremembered
2 years ago