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Friday, November 11, 2016

On this Veterans Day, bless 'em all

"To our fallen heroes," my wife said, as we clinked our martini glasses together on Memorial Day last May.

I congratulated her for remembering the service of those who sacrificed their lives, or their well being, in our nation's wars.

"It's all I did do," she said. "At least you put out the flag."

And that had been all I had done.

I should at least have prepared a post on Memorial Day for this blog. So here, on Veterans Day, is what I should have said then.

I've written many times about how my Royal Enfield motorcycle represents to me the motorcycle I'd wanted as a kid, in 1955. My childhood preoccupation with motor vehicles is the foundation for this blog.

Clarence "Lefty" Blasco, U.S. Army,
Ninth Infantry Division, World War II.
But consider this: In 1955, while I was wishing for yet another toy, my father was only a decade out of uniform as a combat soldier in World War II. Ten years is nothing, especially if it is 10 years of not talking about it.

All I knew of that war was what I read in comic books — my father never mentioned it.

If you asked him then about the war, my dad's usual response would be "hmmm." Followed by silence. But he had a Purple Heart in a desk drawer.

His silence didn't encourage me to want to be a soldier. I avoided military service, stretching a school deferment to stay out of Vietnam.

My kid brother, on the other hand, volunteered for the Army. When my dad found out about that, he was angry. My brother would serve his enlistment honorably and, in that day, without much thanks.

When my dad passed away, my brother sent me dad's medals, carelessly mixing in his own in the batch.

"Never mind," he replied, when I offered to return them. He wasn't a comic book soldier, either.

Dad never joined a veteran's group. He would not have wanted a military salute at his funeral.

But that is not to say that he wasn't proud of his outfit. He wasn't joking when, once, he suggested that vets his age, given rifles, could still get the job done.

Laugh if you want, but if you'd heard his tone of voice, you would not have doubted that they would have tried.

So here's to them all, living and dead, with gratitude and admiration.

2 comments:

  1. Great post. My dad also served in WWII. Those men where awesome.

    ReplyDelete

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