Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This day in 1918

... my grandfather, age 21 and a lieutenant in training at Ft. Benning, Georgia, wept. Not for joy. Not for the false promise of missed glory.

The war for Europe was not finished, he feared, and further events of the twentieth century proved him right, even if those events could not prove any hypothetical remedy he might have had in mind.

My other grandfather fought in WWII. Instead of being late, he came home early with a Bronze Star to compensate for shrapnel, some of which is now buried with him.

He told me many years later that there were two people, both Americans, he would still kill - the jeep driver who took one look at him bloody and wounded and left him to die by the side of the road in France, and the 4F back home who laughed at him in 1945 when he instinctively rolled out of his car as a light plane flew over.

Today, we honor men and now women like this. Every one of them has a story as important as my grandfathers. We honor them for the sacrifices they make in our name. We do this whether or not we honor the political leaders who put them in harm's way.

And the volunteers in today's military who are not yet lucky enough to be veterans? They too are making tremendous and inadequately appreciated sacrifices.

While you're on this topic, go and read Tom Levenson's thoughts.

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