Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

I was going to wish everybody a happy Veterans Day... instead, please have a thoughtful one.

Me, I'll be thinking about my Dad, one of a handful of survivors of the USS Wasp, a battleship which went down in the Pacific during WWII. He trod shark-infested waters for three days before help arrived, a skinny underaged kid who was accepted into the Navy because this was the Great War and sometimes you use the rule book to prop up a leg of the registration tables.

He came out of the Pacific Theatre with a purple heart and serious drinking problem, spared from the fate of most of his fellow crewmen by sheer capricious chance and his own survial instinct. Even when he was at his happiest, a dark cloud followed him around; he smoked like a chimney and the only reason that lung cancer didn't eventually kill him was that he drank himself to death first. He died in 1977, the year STAR WARS came out. In essence, he'd been living on borrowed time for 33 years.

Frequently war is necessary but it has a terrible cost. When you honor our veterans, praise them all the more for the chunk of their souls that they gave up while acting as human shields for you.

3 comments:

Publius said...

I'm mildly offended by your Veteran's Day comments, to tell the truth.

Your trying to redirect our respect that should be for them on this day to YOUR anti-war, political navel gazing is not what I'd call "thoughtful" but rather cynical. This day is for them, not for you to beat us over the head with your pacifistic agenda.

I am, however, sorry for your Dad's personal sacrifices. I know many that lost a part of themselves from their war experiences. I honor their sacrifice for my safety.

I'll leave discussions of why they sacrificed, when it was right and wrong, for other days, though.

Danielk said...

Sacrifice doesn't mean anything unless you acknowlege what you're giving up.

Publius said...

True, true.I just try not to make their day about me!