Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

the quiet warriors

 With memorial day just around the corner I am reminded of all those that lost their lives in that great struggle known as WW2. My father and uncles all served in that war. Growing up it was always just called  " the war " which one was understood. There were vets of Korea aplenty and they were the younger guys. By the time I reached high school Vietnam was raging. At the time they weren't calling that a war at all. it was a police action. After much protest and activism it was decided it was a war after all. Men were fighting and dying so I agreed with that assessment. Still Memorial day is a holiday I associate with the WW2 veterans more than anything else. I know, I know, it is for all veterans of all the wars but I associate it with the second world war simply because of my childhood. When we went to the parades and memorial services those vets of WW2 were predominately remembered. It was WW2 soldiers, for the most part that were marching in those parades, it was WW2 equipment that was displayed and we won that war ! That wasn't being said about Korea. Korea, much like Vietnam wasn't a very " popular " war, if that is how you could describe the sentiment. We didn't win in Korea ! And that is the perception I was given. Not that our Korean War veterans weren't honored and respected, they certainly were, they just didn't enjoy the same prestige. World War Two was called the " big " one for a reason. Of course you have to remember who was telling the stories. It was the vets from that war.
 It is estimated that about 600,000 veterans of WW2 remain alive in the United States. My mothers current husband, Joe, served with General George Pattons' third army in Italy. He was a musician and so saw little combat but he was there. He will be 99 this year. His memory has faded drastically but every once in a while he remembers. Most likely within the next decade the last survivor of the big one will be laid to rest. It is the last war we can claim victory in. Yes, we won. We defeated the axis powers and restored peace to the world. Evil was defeated. The United States, in our righteous might rose up to take a stand. Despite all the hardship and loss of life we Americans knew it was worth the price. There was no dissention, no second guessing the decision to enter the fray. We had been attacked and had no choice but to retaliate.
 Growing up in post war America was a time of pride and prosperity. We baby boomers enjoying all the advances in technology that came from the war effort. The economy was in great shape and business was booming. It was a time when men where men and the ladies were ladies. Folks knew what was expected of them and shortcomings were pointed out. Your " mistakes " weren't as easily forgiven or forgotten. You were held to strict account for your actions. There weren't teams of lawyers to defend your every whim or whimsy.  Morality wasn't something to be litigated ! My how the times have changed. It was my experience that these veterans of WW2 were what I can only describe as " the quiet warriors. " I seldom heard any of those vets speak of the war or its' toll on their health, either physical or mental. No, they were for the most part reserved in their tales and I could see the sadness in their eyes when they spoke of their friends lost. It was a quiet acceptance of the realities of war. It was nothing to either brag about nor complain. Those men went to war because it was a necessity. You don't brag about doing what is expected of you. You just do your job as best you can. I never once heard anyone of those vets complain about having served, being drafted or disagreeing that we should have been there. It was just a fact. They did their part. When they paraded it was for those lost ! That was the purpose of that parade and the ceremonies following.