Just got to thinking about my father and grandfather for a moment.
I learned not too long back that my grandfather, all seven of his brothers and two of his sisters served in France during World War One (the sisters as nurses – as back in that uncivilized time those barbarians wouldn’t think of allowing a woman to go to the front lines to be blown to pieces by heavy artillery or eviscerated by a machine gun…they had some silly notion that it was precisely the duty of men to spare women from that. I know; freakishly strange!). One of his brothers had actually joined early – in contrast to the cowardice 50 years later, he had gone to Canada not to avoid service, but to join the Royal Flying Corps before the United States even entered the war (the cousin has a picture – all dressed up in scarf and leather helmet, ready to fly away in his Sopwith Camel, for all the world to see). From what I understand, all 8 of the brothers were wounded in action – some of them severely, though all survived the war. I think that explains the run of bad luck in the family for the past 100 years…Grandpa and his brothers used it all up in one shot.
My father’s tale is different – one of three brothers, but only dad was old enough to fight. If 17 is “old enough”. Talked grandma in to letting him go shortly after his 17th birthday in January of 1944. Amazing that these days a 26 year old is considered a little kid who still needs mommy’s health insurance…at 17 my dad put his life in hock to the most fearsome of American military forces: the United States Marine Corps. No mommy to look after him on Saipan. Wonder how he managed to take it? His younger brother’s turn came in Korea. My late uncle Mike said that he got his VA benefits at a little ridge called “Heartbreak”.
Take some time to remember our veterans today – and say a prayer for those still out there in harm’s way.