Friday, November 6, 2009

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...can't you remember?

Oh, indeed, there are some WWII veterans who can yet say, "I was there"! There are some who can yet speak those words with pride of admission "I breathed the same air and fought side by side with heroes who died for America in a patchwork of terror". Do you listen as they, nearly inaudible, tell the tales of brevity and courage and honor they realized a million lives ago? Are you uncomfortable and glance away as these weathered, aged veterans' eyes take on the glazed far away look as though they are again reliving the brim and hailstone of battlefields' horror? Are these hauntings of embracement, once again, for a battle of startling enormity and an imminent attack? Are they searching for the high tides of courage that they once experienced? 

Oh you "complacent fellows"  who fail to hear crowded reveries and recollections, by any accounts, of "old" soldiers re-telling of the "old" victories that bought your freedoms with American soldiers' lives and limbs. Do you not know that whilst brave soldiers now lie cold and sodden, in their graves for nearly seventy years, others who were permitted the grace of survival of the fierce war yet struggle to live out the final days of their lives?

What would those of the fallen warriors have known of the pleasure of love and  intimacy of  life had they, given the chance, lived the natural course of their lives? Had they been spared the expectation that war assailed upon them, would they have experienced another day to worship, to pray, to catch the Yankees game, to paste the gloss into their '47 Ford, to grab a dog at Coney Island or better yet, their sweetheart just once more?

The vastness of this war had been deemed important enough to cut short the lives of so many.

Would these hard run soldiers have lived a life of greed and parsimony of feelings at wars' end had they survived? Maybe, or maybe WWII would have left them to their own devices, shell shocked and hardened and aimless in their own lives. Maybe, there is the off chance that the sight and sounds of aching human deceit bred cruelty they'd endured during the World War II war campaigns would have seen them altered, softened or weakened to a mere shell of humanity.

We'll never know the answer to these questions, to be sure will we? There isn't enough care, by most counts, for anyone to struggle for answers to these questions if at all possible. Life goes on, sure, it's the American way. But, pray, you simply must remember these soldiers who fought and the soldiers who fought and lost their lives, some through hell and some into death!  Beneath the cooling shade of a sheltering tree, take time to listen to an excerpt and murmurs of American history. Take more than once and more than a nod to WWII soldiers on Veterans' Day. Take time to recall, other than with a hot dog and burger, the lives of others who braved terror and death paving a road of freedom for you and  I.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...can't you remember?