Thoughts on the 60th Anniversary of D-Day

Thoughts on the 60th Anniversary of D-Day
(to Ike, written 2004))

I wish they had talked more, And I wish we’d have asked more.
They were our fathers, uncles, teachers, and neighbors,
And that one guy who sat at the park by himself.
They were men, then, and we couldn’t imagine they had been soldiers.

We played in the dirt with our plastic soldiers
and mimicked machine guns in the woods:
Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh…
then spun to the ground in death throes we knew nothing of.
They didn’t tell us how to play, or how men really died…screaming sometimes.
They kept those thoughts to themselves,
sitting on them in a silence which their children did not need to hear about,
because nothing could be that terrible.
Ever again.

Maybe it was a matter of time:
A time when tears did not signal doors opening to what really mattered;
A time when it was best to be busy with the yard, the car, the other thousand tasks which mattered to them but have never mattered to me.
A time when sitting next to others at Rotary or Kiwanis who shared those memories was enough.
Even when we wanted them, so we could compare my dad and your dad, to talk,
they would answer questions, without elaboration, a sentence or two,
then back to the yard or car.

Al hid in a haystack in France for months. Then left for the garage.
Fred’s brother died in a tree, shot while he parachuted. But he’s gotta change the oil today.
Dick was in a POW camp for a year. He ate mice. That damn yard’s getting out of hand.
Dad saw Japanese skulls bobbing in the water but didn’t know what to do about them. And he had to go down to the cellar.

We didn’t know how to ask; and they didn’t know how to tell us, anyway.
So we all got older together during quiet baseball games in the back yard.

When we came back, they’d gotten very old. Dad did, too.
Sometimes he would just sit. I remember him the summer before he died, sitting by the back porch crushing sweat bees with the handle of a hoe.
Maybe I should have asked him then.

The guy in the park shot himself years before he’d gotten old.
And now the rest, all of them that I knew while they worked on their cars or in their yards, or who sat at Rotary meetings each week, and who needed stuff from the cellar, the barn, town… they’ve joined that first one.

Maybe they had all died back then and gone to hell on the shores of France, or on some jungle island, or behind the barbed wire of a camp somewhere in Germany.
Maybe these new lives had so little to do with where they’d been that the silence had to be.
Maybe they simply could not go back there while their kids were playing war in the woods,
because they might have had to die all over again.

Requiescat in pace.
We just didn’t know. .

by David Weber, 2004

Obama: "Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!"

obama

(From pictures sent to snopes.com by an American officer in Afghanistan, with the comment, “He was very warm and cordial.”)

Here’s part of email forwarded to me yesterday:

“I personally do not know this soldier but what he writes
speaks mountains. BE AFRAID, BE VERY, VERY AFRAID!!

Hello everyone,
As you know I am not a very political person. I just wanted
to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan
for about an hour on his visit to ‘The War Zone’. I
wanted to share with you what happened.
He got off the plane and got into a bullet proof vehicle,
got to the area to meet with the Major General (2 Star) who
is the commander here at Bagram.
As the Soldiers where lined up to shake his hand he blew
them off and didn’t say a word as he went into the
conference room to meet the General. As he finished, the
vehicles took him to the ClamShell (pretty much a big top
tent that military personnel can play basketball or work
out in with weights) so he could take his publicity
pictures playing basketball. He again shunned the
opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their
service.

I swear we got more thanks from the NBA Basketball Players
or the Dallas Cowboy Cheer leaders than from one of the
Senators, who wants to be the President of the United
States . I just don’t understand how anyone would want
him to be our Commander-and-Chief. It was almost that he
was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for
him and our great country.
If this is blunt and to the point I
am sorry but I wanted you all to know what kind of caliber
of person he really is. What you see in the news is all
fake.
In service,
CPT Jeffrey S. Porter
Battle Captain
TF Wasatch
I went to snopes.com (it took me all of 5 seconds) and saw- as I suspected- that the letter was fake. An Army spokesperson, in fact, stated that the tour was delayed because Obama took so much time meeting the troops.

And, after realizing he violated regulations about troops making political statements, Capt. Porter is asking that his email be deleted, and not forwarded. He is saying that “information put into his hands was untrue.”

Truth seems to matter less and less. It is what “I believe” that is important, and facts seem to be secondary to that sacredly-spoken tenet. We all need to call each other out when we use “I believe” as a preface to personal opinion to which we demand capitulation by others. “I believe” does not always precede a truthful, logical, or even a civil statement. It is jargon which we use in expectation that others will not, cannot, dare not argue with us.

Nonsense, I say! “I believe” should not be a free pass into obfuscation or the perpetuation of lovingly held personal opinions based on whims and culture.

Needless to say, I’m going to be writing some more about Credo statements. Because it’s time for some of them to knocked down.

(it’s easier to swallow than it is to chew..which makes it easy to HATE Obama or HATE McCain if your sources of info are whatever like-minded, non-critical thinkers are forwarding to you. But such a shortcut, in the end, almost always end in choking..)