11 November 2010

In Memoriam

On this Veteran's day I cannot but think of my dad.  He was a WWII vet, serving in Europe.  He came up through Italy and Austria into Germany.  He used to talk about the sights he saw - the great amphitheater (Stausburg, I think?).  He loved to watch any WWII movie.  He never talked about what it was like to be in combat though.  He drew a veil over that part of his life and didn't openly speak of it until near his death, and then to my sister-in-law and not to his sons or daughter or wife.  He was one of the countless crowd that served in that war and came home to try to make a "normal" life again.  But I am certain that the war marked him.  His silence was always heavy with memories, and with loss, with bloodstains and tears.

My brothers all served - or tried to.  Butch joined the Coast Guard and shipped off to Alaska for years.  Joe joined the Marines, but in boot camp they discovered a hole in the bone in his leg and would not let him serve.  He was bitterly disappointed.  Maupin did serve in Vietnam.  He came back a different man.  It has marked his life.

On this day when our nation sets time aside to remember all our vets, a very inadequate thank you from a man who has only known peace, and who has seen up close the weight that rests on your shoulders that we might live free.  God bless you, Vets, every one!

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.


Becky said...

What a blessing people like your father and brothers are to the rest of us. Thanks for this special post, Pastor.

Paul said...

I heard Michael Savage read the poem on the radio last night. Very moving, indeed. Thanks for posting, my friend.

Matthias said...

I think it is worth recalling that our Greatest Prime Minister John Curtin looked to amercia when the Japanese were invading .And in WW1
Australia had a volunteer army of 323000 -the only non conscript army of any of the combatants-,approximately 68000 lie buried in Foreign fields, another 165000 were injured, some permanently disabled. I recall nursing an old man and he said to me "you call yourself a Christian" I said yes,he said 'hw can you I saw rats eating corpses in No mans land at Fromelles" That was a great disaster and this year 400 Allied soldiers from that Battle-150 English and 250 Australians were identified and reburied in Blessed ground and their identities were known thanks to forensics
Thanks to the Yanks who were over paid,over sexed and over here-to quote Old WW2 Aussie soldiers,
thanks to the ANZACS.