today I remember my uncle Cecil, who died somewhere in France in WWII.
I remember my father, who spent 4+ years below decks in the Caribbean and Pacific. I remember my step-father, who was instantly made a sergeant in a tank division when the war broke out, because he knew how to operate heavy equipment. He went ashore in North Africa, his tank hit a mine, and the rest of his crew got the hell out of there. Spent most of his war as a POW. I remember my father in law, who spent his war in the infantry in the Philippines.
I remember my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law, who spent the war building Corsairs in Akron.
I remember my good friend Bob, who ended his WWII service with an additional couple of years in Japan with the occupation forces. My friend Spike, WWII era Marine sergeant. Putnam, who spent his service in Germany in a tank, and spent his old age fighting the war in his dreams. Putnam went back to Europe in the 2000's to see what he could remember, and to see if he could lay his ghosts to rest. He did not.
All the WWII guys I knew are gone now. Sic transit gloria mundi. We'll be gone too, someday. Nonetheless, I miss them all. They lived through amazing times, and it made them amazing people.
Brother-in-law Ron who got lucky and spent his Vietnam-era service in Korea. Brother-in-law Frank who got lucky and spent his Vietnam-era service in Germany.
Lastly but far from least Andy, who gave his life trying to persuade the guys who ended up killing him to lay down their arms.
I'm sure they might all have preferred to stay home. Nonetheless, they went. I send my love and respect to them all.
War is, famously, hell. It's cruelty, and chaos, and damage, and death. Why we can't figure out a better way to sort out our conflicts is beyond me.