Memorial Day

I wish you all a good Memorial Day. I’m off to work so I will post a link to where columnist Bob Kerr, himself a veteran, interviews Earl Northrup.

“Some people say that didn’t happen,” says Earl, jabbing at a photograph he says he took with a forbidden camera as his unit entered Dachau in 1945. It shows stacks of bodies.

There are far more lighthearted moments in the fading black and white prints. Earl points at a picture of his troop ship coming home, laughing as he points into a sea of faces to claim “that’s me.”

He took part in six invasions, he says. He was in North Africa and Italy and Germany with the 3407th Ordnance Group. It was his job to keep things running.

“I did what I was supposed to do,” he says. “I got no regrets about it, but I was a nervous wreck.”

Go here, for the rest of the story.

To all who fought, who suffered, who waited on the ones they loved, who were civilians caught in events they did not cause or comprehend…

May your sacrifice not be forgotten. May we find our way to peace.

4 thoughts on “Memorial Day

  1. There was a group of vets from the American Legion at our service on Sunday. Two of them gave a little talk at the end of the service.

    They told us how, at the height of mobilisation for WWII, there were 16 million American men & women in uniform. Now, the median age is 80+, and they’re dying off at about 1,500 per day,

    These men & women achieved a momumental victory over a truly horrible way of thought, one that truly posed a dire threat to our way of life. This was why I got so outraged when conservatives tried to equate the “war on terror” with the accomplishment of WWII. It was a horrible slap in the face to men who served for years, often w/o any sense of when the committment would end. No two-year hitch back then.

    I was also struck by the justifiable pride these men had in their accomplishment. This struck me even as I noticed how…ordinary they all seemed. This was the Lawrence Welk crowd.

    But that’s exactly the point. Ordinary people made extraordinary sacrifices to accomplish extraordinary things. Much as we loathe the idea of war, sometimes it’s necessary to do something hateful for a longer-term good.

    And now the whole WWII experience is passing from living memory. It’s inevitable, of course, but still sad. The link to an era is being broken. Or perhaps dissolved.

    Finally, WWII always reminds me of my dad, who served. And he was very proud of that service; he spoke of it as the high-point in his life the the very end of his too-short life. And I was amazed to see my oldest daughter moved to tears by all of this, because she understood. somehow, that this was all Very Important.

    I made a point of thanking all of the men after church. It was the least I could do.

  2. tO NINJANURSE THANK YOU FOR THINKING ABOUT US VETERANS ON Memorial day 2010. I too am a veteran from a different war different time. I served for 8 years in the U.S.Navy and two tours of duty in Vietnam. I spent the last two years of my service in Vietnam and came home with some heavy PTSD. It has taken me 46 years to get where I am today and i AM STILL IN THERAPY. IF YOU GET A CHANCE THIS SUMMER GO OUT TO THE VETERANS CEMETERY IT IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VETERANS CEMETERIES IN THE COUNTRY. THERE A LOT OF MOUNMENTS AROUND THE CEMETERY AND I WOULD SUGGEST THAT YOU TAKE A CAMERA ALONG WITH YOU AND TAKE SOME PICTURES.

  3. thank you, Craig, I will do that. I think that we who stay at home should pay for war, first by paying taxes up front so that we have a little sense of the cost, and second by doing right by veterans who were injured in the war. We do some good things with the Vets Hospital but much less than we should.

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